Tesla China boss Tom Zhu promoted to oversee U.S. plants, sales


Under Zhu, Tesla’s Shanghai plant rebounded strongly from COVID lockdowns in China.

Tesla said on Monday that it had delivered 405,278 vehicles in the fourth quarter, short of Wall Street estimates, according to data compiled by Refinitiv.The company had delivered 308,600 vehicles in the same period a year earlier.

According to the Tesla notice on reporting lines reviewed by Reuters, the Tesla managers reporting to Zhu include:

  • Jason Shawhan, director of manufacturing at the Gigafactory in Texas;
  • Hrushikesh Sagar, senior director of manufacturing at Tesla’s Fremont factory;
  • Joe Ward, vice president in charge of Europe, the Middle East and Africa;
  • Troy Jones, vice president of North America sales and service.

Tesla country managers in China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand continue to report to Zhu, the notice showed.

Zhu does not have a direct report at Tesla’s still-ramping Berlin plant, but a person with knowledge of the matter said responsibility for that operation would come with the reporting line for Amsterdam-based Ward. Ward could not be immediately reached for comment.

No-fuss manager

Zhu, who was born in China but now holds a New Zealand passport, joined Tesla in 2014. Before that he was a project manager at a company established by his MBA classmates at Duke University, advising Chinese contractors working on infrastructure projects in Africa.

During Shanghai’s two-month COVID lockdown, Zhu was among the first batch of employees sleeping in the factory as they sought to keep it running, people who work with him have said.

Zhu, a no-fuss manager who has a buzz haircut, favors Tesla-branded fleece jackets and has lived in a government-subsidized apartment that is a 10-minute drive from the Shanghai Gigafactory. It was not immediately clear whether he would move after his promotion.

He takes charge of Tesla’s main production hubs at a time when the company is readying the launch of Cybertruck and a revamped version of its Model 3 sedan. Tesla has also said it is developing a cheaper electric vehicle but has not provided details on that plan.

When Tesla posted a picture on Twitter last month to celebrate its Austin, Texas, plant hitting a production milestone for its Model Y, Zhu was among hundreds of workers smiling on the factory floor.

Allan Wang, who was promoted to vice president in charge of sales in China in July, was listed as the legal representative for the operation in registration papers filed with Chinese regulators in a change by the company last month.

Tesla board member James Murdoch said in November the company had recently identified a potential successor to Musk without naming the person. Murdoch did not respond to a request for comment.

Elecktrek previously reported that Zhu would take responsibility for U.S. sales, delivery and service.



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