Although nothing has been officially confirmed by Tesla, a report from China has been released which claims Elon Musk will be stepping down as Tesla CEO and is set to be replaced by the president of Tesla China, Tom Zhu Xiaotong.
Musk has received criticism lately for spreading himself too thin after buying the social media platform, Twitter, which has taken a lot of his attention. Since he took over the company, he got straight into the thick of it with dissolving the board of members and cutting the workforce in half which resulted in a lawsuit being filed against the company for not giving the employees enough notice for dismissal. Musk also caused absolute chaos with users of the platform when he brought in the subscription service where users pay $8 per month to get the blue ‘verification’ tick next to their name.
All of this led Tesla investors to feel Musk’s attention was elsewhere and Tesla stocks reached a 17-month low, and many claim his involvement with Twitter was a large contributing factor for this.
A Tesla executive, James Murdoch, spoke during a trail in November over Musk’s pay package and commented saying that a potential successor to Musk had already been identified. Musk himself has also previously commented on how he does not like being a manager. He said last year whilst testifying over Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity:
“I tried not to be CEO of Tesla, but I had to, or it would die. I rather hate being a boss. I’m an engineer.”
The report from Chinese outlet PingWest, which states Tom Zhu Xiaotong will be Musk’s replacement, claims the Xiaotong’s position as CEO would focus on the cars rather than the robots and autopilot in the vehicles.
Xiaotong started his Tesla journey as the director of the Supercharger programme in China back in April 2014 and was later promoted to Tesla’s Global Vice President and president of Tesla China. He was involved with many things including the development of the Shanghai Gigafactory which is now delivered 100,000 vehicles in November.
A big thing to note here is the PingWest did recently lose a lawsuit with Tesla over fake news after they wrote an article last year about issues at the Gigafactory including poor working conditions and controversial sales tactics. Tesla won the lawsuit when the article was found to be fake at the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Court.