There's more evidence to suggest that Tom Zhu is going to fill Elon Musk's shoes as Tesla's CEO.
Rumors surrounding the appointment of Tom Zhu as Tesla's new CEO have stirred up once again, with CNEVPost in China reporting he has stepped down from his role as legal representative for Tesla Shanghai.
Zhu has been succeeded by Wang Hao but still retains his role as chairman of the company. Earlier reports suggested that Elon Musk had identified Zhu as his potential replacement and it's not hard to see why. The rumored successor joined the automaker in 2014 and successfully completed the rollout of the Supercharger program in the country before becoming Global Vice President and President of China operations.
Importantly, he supervised the buildout of Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai, which remains a key facility for the carmaker.
The fact that Zhu has relinquished this role could suggest he's getting ready to take over entirely. In fact, the global vice president has been in America for some time now, as he and a group of Tesla China team members hope to make positive changes to local Tesla production.
If there's anyone who can speed up assembly, it's Zhu. He was largely credited with transforming Tesla's output in China. Following stringent COVID-19-related lockdowns, production increased by 50%. His rumored appointment as CEO is yet to be confirmed by Tesla, but it looks likely that an announcement will be made soon.
In a lawsuit pertaining to Twitter, witnesses stated last month that Elon Musk had identified a potential successor to take over as Tesla's chief executive, so it all adds up.
Should Zhu be the one to take over from Musk, he will face several tough challenges. The Cybertruck is expected to sail down the assembly line by late 2023, for example, and overseeing a task like that will likely prove stressful. After all, the electric truck is slated to be built at the Giga Texas plant, which can't currently cope with demand for the Model Y.
Aside from that, Zhu would have his hands full with the newly-released Semi truck, the upcoming Model 3 facelift, and the rumored "affordable" electric vehicle that will serve as the company's entry-level model.
However, this all remains to be seen. Zhu may have been brought over to the United States exclusively to oversee the operation of Gigafactory Texas, a factory described by Musk as a "money furnace," and Tesla may still get a more focused CEO if Musk abandons his management of Twitter to focus on the car company instead. Time will tell.