Tesla moves key auto executive amidst layoffs and departures

Credit: Tesla China

Tesla’s Senior Vice President of Automotive is reportedly moving back into a position in China, after leaving the country to help with the automaker’s global operations last year.

Tesla’s SVP Automotive Tom Zhu was transferred from Gigafactory China to the current position at Giga Austin last year to help with the U.S. plant’s production ramp. Now, multiple local sources have reported that the executive will be returning to China to return to the role of SVP of Greater China.

The news comes as multiple executives have departed from the company amidst a larger restructuring effort, which has included several rounds of layoffs that began in mid-April. It also comes as Tesla prepares to enter the Chinese market with its Full Self-Driving (FSD) software, and as such, many have been speculating that the move could be related to the system’s rollout in the first country outside of North America.

Elon Musk explains Tesla strategy behind layoffs as executives depart

Zhu has been with Tesla since 2018, and he is considered to have played a crucial role in helping Giga Shanghai ramp up production after it was built. After moving to the company’s North American arm, Zhu was tasked with overseeing Sales, Service and Delivery, both in North America and Europe, before moving into the position of SVP of Automotive, in which he oversaw manufacturing and sales globally.

Over the last few weeks, Tesla has launched multiple rounds of layoffs company-wide, including its whole advertising team, its whole Supercharging team, and a number of others in different departments. At the same time, multiple longtime executives have left the company, including SVP Powertrain and Engineering Drew Baglino, VP of Public Policy and Business Development Rohan Patel, VP of Investor Relations Martin Viecha, Senior Director of HR Allie Arebalo, and still others.

Tesla gained tentative approval for FSD in China last week, set to mark the first market outside of North America to get the semi-autonomous driver assistance software. Following the news, Bank of America estimated that adding Tesla’s FSD to the Chinese market could generate as much as $2.3 billion in yearly earnings by 2030.

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Tesla moves key auto executive amidst layoffs and departures
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