Tesla ‘Promotes China Head’ To Global Role

Electric carmaker Tesla has reportedly promoted its head of China operations, Tom Zhu, to a much broader role that makes him effectively the company’s No. 2 after founder and chief executive Elon Musk.

Zhu has taken direct responsibility for sales, service, and deliveries in North America, reported electric car news site Electrek, while Reuters added that Zhu is to directly oversee Tesla’s US production plants.

Electrek cited unnamed sourcew while Reuters said it had viewed an internal organisational chart.

The move gives Zhu responsibility for deliveries in Tesla’s key markets as well as oversight of operations at the company’s main production facilities.

Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai. Image credit: Tesla


Zhu’s responsibilities over global sales and production remain separate from Tesla’s vehicle design and development, areas in which Musk has been heavily involved.

The Tesla managers reporting to Zhu now include the directors of manufacturing at Tesla’s Texas and Fremont, California plants, the vice president in charge of Europe, the Middle East and Africa and the vice president of North American sales and service.

Reuters cited a source as saying Tesla’s new Berlin plant would report to Zhu via the EMEA vice president, Joe Ward.

Zhu retains responsibility for Greater China and Asia Pacific, as before, as of Tuesday, Reuters said, with country managers for China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand reporting to him.

Twitter distraction

Tesla brought in Zhu 2014 to build its China charger network, and he oversaw the construction of the key Shanghai plant and its continued operations through supply chain disruption last year.

The reorganisation comes at a time when investors have urged Musk to appoint more senior executives at Twitter, which he acquired last October, so that he can focus more attention on Tesla.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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