Tesla’s global vice president and CEO of the Greater China region, Tom Zhu, took over responsibilities for sales, service, and deliveries in North America, Electrek reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The publication noted that Zhu’s title remains vice president in charge of Asia/Pacific, but he’s been added to the North American sales service and delivery organization chart.
Zhu, a veteran at Tesla who began his career with the electric vehicle maker in 2014, oversaw Gigafactory Shanghai from its construction to operations. Zhu’s leadership has seen Tesla grow in China from the building of Gigafactory Shanghai to it becoming a large export hub. He’s helped the company build up its Supercharger network, and earlier reports from China revealed that he was tasked to oversee Tesla’s Asia Pacific operations.
In October, Tesla delivered 71,704 vehicles in China, which was a bit lower than the record it set in September with 83,135 deliveries. In November, shipments from Tesla China topped 100,000 vehicles.
In December, Zhu was reportedly at Tesla’s Gigafactory in Texas with an engineering team from China to help oversee the ramp of Tesla’s newest Gigafactory. Reuters reported that Zhu traveled with a team including Song Gang, Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory. manager to Tesla plants in California and Texas.
Information shared by Chinese provider, Qichacha revealed that Zhu was no longer the legal representative of Tesla Shanghai Co Ltd. but was still the chairman of the company. Wang Hao, the general manager of Tesla China, filled the position. PingWest, a Chinese tech publication, claimed that Zhu would be the successor of Elon Musk’s position as CEO, citing unnamed sources.
Although that report was widely circulated, it should be noted that PingWest was found guilty of spreading fake news about Tesla in China. The publication had to admit its guilt publicly and pay monetary retribution. Whether or not Elon Musk plans to make Zhu his replacement remains to be seen.
However, a Tesla board member testified that the CEO identified someone as a potential successor during the last few months. During an interview with Financial Times in May, Elon Musk said that he would stay at Tesla “as long as I can be useful.”
Disclosure: Johnna is a $TSLA shareholder and believes in Tesla’s mission.
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