Tom Zhu becomes Tesla’s highest-profile executive after CEO Elon Musk, with oversight of deliveries in major markets and operations of key production hubs, according to an internal posting of reporting lines.
Tesla has promoted its head of China operations, Tom Chu, to direct supervision of the electric car maker’s US assembly plants and sales in both North America and Europe, according to reports seen by Reuters.
The company said Chu’s primary position in Greater China had not changed, and that he also retained his responsibilities as Tesla’s chief sales executive for the rest of Asia. Zhou is thus the highest-profile CEO of the electric auto giant after CEO and owner Elon Musk, with direct oversight of deliveries in all markets and operations of major production centers.
Chu’s appointment to a global position comes at a time when Musk’s preoccupations have increased after his acquisition of Twitter a few months ago, and Tesla’s stock fell by 65% in 2022. Analysts and investors believe that this measure would deepen Musk’s senior executive business and allow him to focus more on his business.
Tesla’s head in China played a major role in the recovery of its Shanghai factory, and in helping the company recover strongly from the epidemic closures in China, which is the largest international market for the auto industry.
Late last year, Tesla brought in a team of executives from its China subsidiary headed by Tom Zhu to troubleshoot production issues in the United States. His promotion comes as Tesla is preparing for the launch of the Cybertruck and a refreshed version of the Model 3.
Tesla said on earlier that it had delivered 405,278 vehicles in the fourth quarter, short of Wall Street estimates, according to data compiled by Definitive. The company had delivered 308,600 vehicles in the same period a year earlier.