Xpeng motors (小鹏汽车) expanded its team by bringing in three more executives from Alibaba, Ford, and Qualcomm. This followed recent appointment of Li Pengcheng (李鹏程) and Wu Xinzhou (吴新宙), bringing the total of new senior executives in one of China’s iconic EV makers to nine this year. Out of the new hires, two were named vice president.
As the company announced on June 28, Wang Tong (王桐), former VP of Alibaba Culture & Entertainment Group and senior VP of UC Browser (acquired by Alibaba Group in June 2014) will be Xpeng’s VP to oversee its Beijing and Shanghai team management (Interestingly, Xpeng’s founder and CEO He Xiaopeng was the founder of UC Browser); Chinese automaker Jiangling Motors Corp (JMC)’s former CFO Lyv Xueqing (吕学庆) will join the firm as VP of Finance; Benny Katibian, who was Srenior Director of Technology in telecom giant Qualcomm, became COO of Xpeng’s North American branch and will be responsible for self-driving hardware, architecture and system design under Xpeng’s autonomous driving center. He also assists Wu Xinzhou in cooperation with chipmakers NVIDIA and Qualcomm.
With Wu’s rich experience in vehicular research, wireless communications and IoV (Internet of Vehicles) industries, and Benny Katibian’s efforts in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) when he was with Qualcomm, Xpeng has shown us its ambitions in autonomous driving.
Founded in 2014, Alibaba-backed Xpeng Motors has gone a recruiting campaign in 2019, aiming to boost its headcount by another 5,000 this year. The company now employs more than 2000 employees. It has continued to develop its internal management team to underpin its fast-growing manufacturing capacity. Since it started delivery of its mass-produced model G3 last December, Xpeng has announced a record output of 10,000 as of June. By adding talents in marketing, quality management, aftersales service and public relations, Xpeng aims higher.
The shortage of high-caliber talents in autonomous driving is holding back those new EV manufacturers from NIO to Xpeng. NIO bade farewell to head of its North America branch Padmasree Warrior last December. Likewise, Xpeng replaced former Tesla AutoPoit director Gu Junli (谷俊丽) with Wu as VP of autonomous driving. Rumor has it that Gu has left Xpeng but Xpeng denied this.