Li Auto Denies Former Huawei Executive Li Wenzhi to Join as CFO

Li Wenzhi, former head of Huawei’s global human resources business partner (HRBP) department, reportedly joined Li Auto as chief financial officer (CFO), reporting to Li Tie, co-founder and former CFO of Li Auto. However, Li Auto denied the report.

After joining Huawei in 1997, Li Wenzhi spent 16 years being responsible for sales in domestic and overseas markets, and two years for the group’s human resources department. Li has previously written that Huawei is not a company driven by strategy and finance, but a company driven by human resources.

Li also revealed that when he was in charge of human resources at Huawei in the last two years, his work was too stable, and he couldn’t accept such a calm and non-turbulent job.

After leaving Huawei, he participated in the establishment of Dmall, a SaaS platform that uses e-commerce as the breakthrough point to help physical retail make its digital transformation, and then joined Zhongsi Technology (later merged into telecom firm Coolpad) and internet security company Qihoo 360, but none of them went well.

Li Auto founder Li Xiang confirmed that Li Wenzhi indeed joined the company to lead an office for the reform of management and finance, and needs to report his work to CFO Li Tie. Before this, Li was invited by XPeng to join that company. An industry insider familiar with the internal organization of XPeng said, “It is hard to entertain the idea that Li could join XPeng, since the company’s environment is often a little unfair for employees transferred in from its rivals.”

In December 2022, Li Auto ushered in the most profound organizational structure change in the company’s history. Under the new organization, CEO Li Xiang, President Ma Donghui, CTO Xie Yan and co-founder Li Tie are now each responsible for some core businesses. Li Xiang is responsible for strategy, product, brand, retail, delivery, maintenance, charging network and others. Ma is in charge of R&D and supply chains. Xie is responsible for the construction of computing platforms, operating systems, system security and intelligent cloud. Finally, Li Tie is in charge of finance, administration, and others.

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At present, the adjustment of Li Auto has not yet ended. People familiar with the matter have commented that “The organizational change within Li Auto is still bumpy, and there are many things to do. At present, there are only general ideas, but many uncertainties still exist.”

In order to avoid possible management risks in the organization, Li Xiang’s solution is to learn management experience from other tech giants, such as Huawei and ByteDance, and combine them with the characteristics of the automobile industry.

Li Xiang has said that one of his core goals in 2022 was to learn Huawei’s integrated product development (IPD) process. In order to promote IPD, he invited a consulting company to train employees, and introduced Meng Xiaokun, a senior expert with work experience in Huawei, to be responsible for sorting out and building the IPD process.

Li Wenzhi’s advantages lay in his many years of business experience and his familiarity with Huawei’s organizational system.