[THE INVESTOR] Tesla Korea has tapped a former Starbucks Coffee Korea executive to helm the local unit of the iconic US EV maker as it speeds up its expansion in the country.
Kim Jin-jung has been appointed as the first head of Tesla Korea, the company said. He will oversee the Korean unit as it gears up to officially launch the brand in June and plans to extend the charging network across the country.
Most recently, Kim served as the head of operations at the local unit of the coffee giant, where he started out as a part-time barista in 1999. He also took part in opening Starbucks Coffee Korea’s first store near Ewha Womans University in Seoul. Since then, he has held several positions as he moved up the ladder, including store manager, operation team leader and category team leader.
Separately, Nicolas Villeger, vice president of Tesla Japan and North Asian operation, who oversaw the opening of Korean showrooms, has resigned from his post. Tesla Korea declined to comment on the reasons behind this.
Tesla opened its first two stores in March in Korea –- one in the shopping mall Starfield Hanam that is owned by Shinsegae Group and the other in Cheongdam-dong.
Tesla plans to start delivering Model S 90D, its first available model in Korea, in mid-June. The automaker has begun taking preorders of two additional trim levels – Model S 75 D and 100D – and plans to deliver them within three months.
With the goal of quickly expanding its customer base here, Tesla plans to install 14 high-speed supercharger stations by the end of this year, including at least six in Seoul.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)