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Tesla’s Chinese rival NextEV names Padmasree Warrior as CEO for US arm

Padmasree Warrior

Padmasree Warrior

Padmasree Warrior, one of Silicon Valley’s high-profile female executives and former CTO of Cisco, is joining Chinese electric vehicle startup NextEV Inc as its US chief executive officer and head of global software development.

In June this year, India-born Padmasree stepped down from her post of CTO and strategy head at global IT giant Cisco after a significant restructuring of top management under incoming CEO Chuck Robbins. She was also one of the strong contenders for Cisco CEO’s job.

An alumnus of the IIT-Delhi and Cornell University, she has previously served as executive vice president and CTO at Motorola. In addition to her appointment to the NextEV board, she also currently serves on the boards of Box, Gap and Microsoft.

“As the electric vehicle industry emerges, there is a tremendous opportunity to provide a user-centric transportation experience. By integrating advanced technologies in the mobile Internet era, NextEV will make electric vehicles an enjoyable experience in people’s daily life,” Padmasree said.

Founded in 2014, Shanghai-based NextEV aims to challenge Elon Musk-controlled Tesla Motors Inc and other manufacturers in the space.

NextEV is into designing and development of smart electric vehicles. It was founded with funding from enterprises and entrepreneurs including Tencent; Bitauto.com founder William Li; autohome.com.cn founder Xiang Li; JD.com founder Richard Liu, and investment firms including Hillhouse Capital; Sequoia Capital and JOY Capital.

Headquartered in Shanghai, it has design and R&D centres in San Jose, Munich, Beijing, Hong Kong and London.

It has already recruited hundreds of R&D and design team members. William Li,  founder and chairman of NextEV, is also founder of Bitauto, China’s largest automotive internet company.

Li said: “Padma’s knowledge of the global markets and her business acumen are surpassed only by her ability to lead distributed teams of engineers and developers toward a common goal. Her passion for technology and the positive impact it can have on humanity aligns well with the core values of NextEV as we build the first user-enterprise.”

The firm also counts another key executive in Martin Leach, who serves as president of NextEV. Before joining NextEV, Leach was CEO of Maserati; president of Ford Europe; and corporate vice president and managing director for Mazda.

NextEV said it seeks to provide an affordable zero-emission vehicle that will help achieve the recent commitment by California, and 12 other North American and European governments, for all new cars to be zero-emission by 2050. It will also look to match up to California’s Executive Order to deploy 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles by 2025, and its goal to half petroleum use by 2030.

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