So Elon Musk is far more than "just" head of Tesla. For years he has been the face of the electric car manufacturer and a manager who even stays overnight in the factory when urgent problems need to be solved. Recently, however, Musk has hardly been present, notes Max Borowski in the German publication NTV and concludes that apparently he delegates a large part of his responsibility at Tesla to a confidant. Now there is another man in Tesla, Tom Zhu, who is now likely to be the most influential manager at Tesla after Elon Musk himself.
After years of exorbitant growth, the world leader in battery-powered cars, Tesla, has found itself in rougher waters. The production capacities have been greatly increased, but in view of the global economic crisis, the customers of Tesla are no longer snatching the vehicles from their hands as in previous years. At the same time, competition from both new and established manufacturers has increased. While his company has to adapt to completely new challenges, Borowski thinks Tesla boss Elon Musk is hardly present.
The CEO, who has sometimes slept on the floor of the factory in past crises to personally monitor production, is currently busy almost around the clock with his new Twitter acquisition. There is growing evidence that Musk has delegated more and more responsibility to another manager, who has already been touted in some reports as a possible successor to the company's management: Tom Zhu Xiatong.
Zhu, who made a name for himself as Tesla's China boss, recently assumed responsibility for sales, service and deliveries in North America, the Internet magazine "Electrek" reported, citing people familiar with the matter. However, Zhu's official title remains vice president for Asia-Pacific. Tesla has not yet responded to written requests for comment.
Media reported last month that Zhu had visited Tesla's two factories in California and Texas. As a result, he should now also manage production in the US factories in addition to the China plant. With these far-reaching competencies from production to sales both in the home market in North America and in China, the most important foreign and largest growth market, Zhu is now likely to be the most influential manager at Tesla after Elon Musk himself.
Under Zhu, production in Shanghai had recovered from the lockdowns and was close to meeting the target of increasing production by 50 percent in 2022. Musk had repeatedly publicly highlighted Tesla's performance in China under Zhu's leadership given the difficult conditions in the Corona crisis. Tesla CEO Elon Musk on several occasions had expressed how well he has been pleased by Tesla China team.
Tesla board member James Murdoch said last month that the company had recently identified a potential successor to company founder and CEO Elon Musk, but did not name him. Chinese media had already guessed Zhu would be the man at the time.
Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded TorqueNews.com in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.