SHANGHAI — Tesla has hired China’s Chief of Staff Tom Zhu to troubleshoot production engineering challenges in the United States, according to two people familiar with the matter.
They are working on upcoming projects, including Cybertruck, they said, while Zhu’s colleagues in China said at a time when CEO Elon Musk was looking to overhaul Twitter for Zhu’s larger role. He added that he believes it is being groomed.
Let’s take a look at Zhu and other key Chinese managers who helped Tesla’s Shanghai factory come back from lockdown and help bring the electric car maker closer to its global growth targets this year.
Zhu, who was born in China and now holds a New Zealand passport, joined Tesla in 2014. Prior to that, he was a project manager at a company founded by his MBA classmate at Duke University, advising Chinese contractors on infrastructure projects abroad.
Zhu was introduced to Cal Lankton, director of global EV charging infrastructure at Tesla, while overseeing projects for Kaibo Engineering in Libya and Sudan. Lankton later hired Chu to help build a charging station for Tesla in China, said a person close to Chu.
People were not allowed to speak to the media and refused to identify themselves.Zhu could not be reached for comment and Telsa did not respond to a request for comment.
At the end of 2014, when Model S sales were declining in the world’s largest auto market, Chu became Tesla’s China country manager.
Under Zhu, Tesla cars were exempt from traffic restrictions in major cities such as Beijing, and the automaker launched adapters to allow cars to be charged using improved Chinese charging standards. The move boosted Tesla’s sales in China, with revenues from China in 2016 more than triple what he did in 2015.
During Shanghai’s two-month COVID lockdown, Zhu was one of the first employees to sleep in the factory trying to keep it running, people working with him said. Told.
After a 22-day shutdown, the Shanghai factory resumed partial production in a “closed-loop” system, with thousands of workers and suppliers living and working at the factory for weeks.
A no-fuss manager with a buzz cut, Zhu prefers Tesla-branded fleece jackets and lives in a government-subsidized apartment a 10-minute drive from the Shanghai Gigafactory.
Zhu was among hundreds of smiling workers on the factory floor last week when Tesla posted a photo on Twitter to celebrate the Austin, Texas factory hitting a production milestone.
Allan Wang was promoted to vice president of sales and shipping in China in July, according to his Linkedin profile. Since November, Tesla has been offering incentives and discounts to buyers in what makes him the second largest market. Wang, who joined Tesla in 2014, has previously worked at Apple and AMD.
Song Gang has been the factory manager of Giga Shanghai since 2018. He spent many years as a project engineer at General Motors and Ford before moving to oversee production of his EV startup, Zhidou, in 2015. He traveled with Zhu.