A recent report by Chinese media outlet “Iauto Ilife” claims that Wang Fengying, the former general manager of Great Wall Motor, will replace He Xiaopeng, the founder, chairman and CEO of XPeng Motors, as CEO.
XPeng spokesperson replied, “We will decline to comment on market speculations and any specific new hires, and will make necessary announcements in due course. We welcome talent and are open to the best talent in the industry to join us. The company will continue to grow under CEO He Xiaopeng’s overall leadership.”
In Iauto Ilife’s report, sources familiar with XPeng expressed surprise and admitted that He Xiaopeng is indeed looking for CEO candidates.
In the past many years, Wang Fengying was the second-most important person at Great Wall Motor after Chairman Wei Jianjun. Wang joined Great Wall Motor in 1991, became the general manager of the company in November 2002, then the vice chairman in March 2016. In the past, Wang, who represented Great Wall Motor, made public appearances, while Wei focused on products and research and development.
However, in July 2020, Great Wall Motor introduced a rotating president system, and Wang’s position has been replaced again and again, and she has stepped down as rotating president, executive director, vice chairman and member of the firm’s Strategy and Sustainable Development Committee. On July 24, 2022, Great Wall Motor announced that Wang had applied to resign as general manager of the company and would continue to work in strategic management.
For XPeng, 2022 was a crucial year. On the one hand, its G3, P7 and other vehicle models were undergoing upgrades. On the other hand, XPeng had expected to explore the high-end market through the G9, and to increase gross profit. However, the actual situation was that due to the rising prices of raw materials, supply chain breaks caused by the pandemic, the closing of stores and other reasons, the lowest monthly delivery volume of XPeng dropped to less than 6,000 units last year.
According to analysts, EV makers made products based on a digital thought process at the beginning of their development, but as the number of products increases, it is eventually necessary to return to a traditional enterprise practices.
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Therefore, XPeng needs more professionals to plan and operate its product matrix as a whole. In fact, He Xiaopeng realized various internal problems and started a series of changes after the failure of the G9. In December, He announced that he would focus on the strategic planning, product research and development, user services and organizational changes at XPeng, gradually withdrawing from the daily operations of XPeng‘s robot and flying car subsidiaries.
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