Auto ex­ec­u­tives shift­ing to in­ter­net com­pa­nies

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

BEI­JING: The for­mer vice-pres­i­dent of SAIC Mo­tor Corp is re­port­edly join­ing the elec­tric car divi­sion of In­ter­net com­pany LeEco. The re­port has not yet been con­firmed, but, should it be the case, it would con­tinue the trend of top ex­ec­u­tives leav­ing well-known au­tomak­ers to head the au­to­mo­bile di­vi­sions of In­ter­net com­pa­nies.

Auto Busi­ness Re­view re­ported last week that Zhang Hail­iang, 46, who quit SAIC on March 11, will take up the po­si­tion of China pres­i­dent at the elec­tric su­per­car divi­sion of Leshi In­ter­net In­for­ma­tion and Tech­nol­ogy Corp. He man­aged the au­tomaker's Sino-Ger­man joint ven­ture Shang­hai Volk­swa­gen Co as pres­i­dent for four years from 2010, and was promoted to vice-pres­i­dent of SAIC in 2014.

The three vice-pres­i­dents of Leshi's su­per­car divi­sion are all from auto man­u­fac­tur­ers: Lyu Zhengyu was the for­mer general man­ager of In­finiti China; Gao Jing­shen was the for­mer vice-pres­i­dent of GACToy­ota; and Fu Zhenx­ing was the for­mer pow­er­train sys­tem chief en­gi­neer of Shang­hai EPropul­sion Auto Tech­nol­ogy Co un­der SAIC.

Frank Sterzer, the for­mer man­u­fac­tur­ing di­rec­tor at Volk­swa­gen Group China, joined Leshi su­per­cars as se­nior di­rec­tor of man­u­fac­tur­ing in April 2015.

In­ter­net con­nected au­to­mo­biles are be­com­ing a key area of com­pe­ti­tion be­tween auto man­u­fac­tur­ers and In­ter­net com­pa­nies, said Li Bin, ex­ec­u­tive vice-di­rec­tor of the Na­tional In­tel­li­gent Trans­port Sys­tems Cen­ter of En­gi­neer­ing and Tech­nol­ogy, at a fo­rum on March 20 in Zhe­jiang prov­ince. An­other Li Bin, the founder and chair­man of the board of Nex­tEV and auto in­for­ma­tion site Bi­tauto.com, said the big­gest change be­ing made by the In­ter­net is "in the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the au­tomak­ers and the cus­tomers" where there are "op­por­tu­ni­ties to re­de­fine the in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence and re­struc­ture the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­trial chain".

Other top auto ex­ec­u­tives have al­ready joined In­ter­net com­pa­nies. Martin Leach, the for­mer CEO of Maserati joined Nex­tEV, which spe­cial­izes in designing and de­vel­op­ing high-per­for­mance elec­tric ve­hi­cles. Har­mony Futeng, which is backed by Ten­cent Hold­ings and cell­phone maker Hon Hai Pre­ci­sion In­dus­try, an­nounced in Fe­bru­ary that Carsten Bre­it­feld, a for­mer vice-pres­i­dent of BMW Group, had be­come CEO; and Daniel Kirchert, the for­mer pres­i­dent of Dongfeng In­finiti, had be­came COO.

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