Tom Zhu: Elon Musk’s right-hand guy at Tesla | CNN Trade

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Tesla’s China chief has reportedly been given a large promotion.

Tom Zhu has been passed Tesla’s US meeting crops and gross sales operations in North The us and Europe as further obligations, leaving simply the Berlin Gigafactory outdoor his remit, in step with media reports on Tuesday.

The reviews have intensified hypothesis that China-born Zhu is being groomed to be triumphant Elon Musk as CEO on the international’s largest electrical carmaker. So, what can we learn about him?

Zhu, who’s now the highest-profile Tesla govt after Musk, has performed an enormous function in serving to the corporate rebound strongly from Covid lockdowns in China, the carmaker’s largest global marketplace.

His reported appointment comes at a time when Musk has been distracted by way of his acquisition of Twitter, and Tesla’s inventory has plunged 65% in 2022.

Whilst Tesla didn’t reply to requests for remark by way of CNN, Chinese language media has been speculating since December that Zhu was once being groomed for a larger world function on the electrical automaker.

“Zhu is a core chief at Tesla and a linchpin to its good fortune particularly in China,” stated Daniel Ives, managing director and senior fairness analysis analyst protecting the tech trade at Wedbush Securities.

Zhu joined Tesla in 2014 and has been described as “pragmatic,” “industrious” and “a workaholic” by way of the Chinese language media.

“I wanna sleep such a lot, however the process is so rattling fascinating,” he stated in a 2019 post on his Weibo account.

Zhu has made few public appearances since becoming a member of Tesla, and there’s little public details about his age or non-public lifestyles. He was once born in China and CNN was once no longer ready to verify if he nonetheless holds Chinese language citizenship.

In keeping with his social media profile, he obtained a bachelor’s stage from the Auckland College of Generation in 2004 and an MBA stage from The Fuqua Faculty of Trade at Duke College.

Prior to becoming a member of Tesla, he based a challenge control consulting company, providing recommendation to Chinese language contractors who sought after to make bigger out of the country.

A 2021 interview by way of the Jiefang Day by day in Shanghai, the Communist Birthday party’s reputable newspaper within the monetary hub, confirmed Zhu running from an open place of work, with infrequently any time to devour breakfast.

“Potency and pragmatism are a mode of our corporate,” he stated within the interview, which is among the few Zhu has gave the impression in since becoming a member of Tesla.

Aerial view of Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory at Lingang New Area on July 11, 2021 in Shanghai, China.

In a separate video interview ultimate yr by way of PCauto, a privately owned Chinese language information portal, Zhu published extra about his non-public lifestyles and dealing taste.

Tesla’s China boss does no longer embrace a flashy way of life. He lives in a cheap public condominium house, paying a per 30 days hire of not up to 2,000 yuan ($290), as it’s with regards to the sprawling Shanghai manufacturing unit.

Dwelling with regards to paintings is “moderately handy,” Zhu stated within the interview. He additionally automobile swimming pools with colleagues and begins paintings at 6 or 7 within the morning, ceaselessly staying past middle of the night.

He additionally published that he texted Musk frequently, discussing problems at paintings or plans for the long run, which Zhu stated made him “really feel extraordinarily excited.”

Elon Musk arrives at the In America: An Anthology of Fashion themed Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on May 2, 2022.

In 2019, after a couple of typhoons hit the Shanghai plant’s drainage gadget, Zhu and different Tesla staff manually tired water with plastic buckets within the rain.

“Getting your fingers grimy” represents an entrepreneurial spirit and tradition of of the corporate, he stated.

Zhu’s reported promotion got here after an outstanding efficiency by way of Tesla’s China operations.

Since 2014, Tesla has expanded unexpectedly on the planet’s greatest automobile marketplace. In 2019, it built the Shanghai Gigafactory inside of 10 months, at a value that was once 65% less expensive than the Style 3 manufacturing plant in the USA.

Inside a couple of years, it turned into the largest EV manufacturing plant on the earth.

In 2021, Tesla delivered 936,000 cars globally, greater than part of which got here from the Shanghai manufacturing unit.

In August 2022, Musk stated the corporate had manufactured over 3 million automobiles, 1,000,000 of which got here from Shanghai. In November, the Shanghai manufacturing unit set a contemporary per 30 days supply document of greater than 100,000 cars. All this was once accomplished after Covid restrictions brought about the plant to quickly suspend manufacturing ultimate yr.

Tesla’s China gross sales additionally beat expectancies. For the primary 3 quarters of 2022, Tesla generated earnings of $13.6 billion from China, up 51% from the similar length a yr in the past.

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