Tesla's Executive Exodus Is Leaving Elon Musk Alone At The Top Of Tesla

The Tesla CEO's number two is heading back to China, and that means Musk is more alone than ever atop Tesla.

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 Elon Musk arrives at the 10th Annual Breakthrough Prize Ceremony at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on April 13, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Steve Granitz/FilmMagic (Getty Images)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is further isolating himself at the top of the automaker’s pyramid as his number two, Tom Zhu, goes back to his responsibilities as VP of Tesla China. Zhu has long been the leader of Tesla’s operations in the country and was one of the key figures in the automaker’s Shanghai Gigafacgtory project.

That plant quickly became Tesla’s best-performing manufacturing facility. Because of that, Musk tasked Zhu with replicating that success at the Texas gigafactory and put him in charge of all Gigafactories back in 2022, according to Electrek. Musk tapped Zhu to take on the bigger role at the automaker since he was too busy running his many other companies.


Here’s more from Electrek:

We exclusively reported that Zhu was even made in charge of North American sales and became the de facto head of Tesla’s automotive business – second in command to Musk at Tesla.

He was elevated to the critical “leadership” at Tesla that need to reported their stock transaction to the SEC.

In recent months, Musk took over North American sale operations from Zhu, according to sources familiar with the matter.

As we reported during our podcast last Friday, several sources told Electrek that Tom Zhu was stepping down from his responsibilities with Tesla in North America.


Now though, it looks like Zhu is very much heading back to China to lead the automaker’s operations there, Electrek reports. When you combine that with the fact there have been a whole lot of executives leaving the company, it leads to Musk being very much alone at the top.

Tesla has to identify critical executives who need to report their stock holdings and transactions to the SEC. The automaker already had a limited official leadership for a company of its size, but even its limited bench was cut by 50% in just a month.


So much for that “deep bench,” Musk was talking about before.