Nio appoints new CFO as funding questions linger

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Nio‘s logo outside one of the company’s stores in Beijing on Sept 28, 2019. (Image credit: TechNode/Coco Gao)

Electric vehicle (EV) maker Nio has appointed a former auto analyst as the company’s new chief financial officer, the automaker announced on Sunday, replacing Louis Hsieh who left unexpectedly in October citing personal reasons.

Why it matters: Hsieh was key in taking Nio public in New York last year, and his resignation led to much speculation about why an important figure would leave the company in the midst of a search for new investment.

  • Chinese media reported at the time that Hsieh’s departure could signal a new financing deal that required the CFO to be replaced. Nio declined to comment on the matter.
  • Nio has yet to finalize a deal with state-backed capital fund Beijing E-Town, which the company announced in May alongside its financial results.

“[Feng Wei’s] financial and operational experience in the automotive-related fields, together with an impressive track record in equity research, makes him an excellent choice to lead our finance teams.”

—Nio CEO and founder William Li in a statement

Details: Prior to joining Nio, Feng Wei was an auto analyst at China International Capital Corporation (CICC). His appointment at Nio is effective starting Monday.

  • Feng joined CICC in 2013 as a senior associate but quickly climbed the ranks to head automotive research. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Tsinghua University in Beijing and a joint master’s from RWTH Aachen University in Germany and Tsinghua University.
  • He has worked for companies including Everbright Securities and German automotive manufacturer ZF Group.

Nio shares surge on October delivery figures

Context: Feng’s arrival comes as Nio attempts to keep its head above water as conditions in China’s auto market become increasingly difficult. EV sales continue to slide in the second half of the year after the government did away with subsidies for buyers over the summer.

  • Officials in China’s eastern Zhejiang province deemed Nio “too risky” for an investment, ending talks with the company to build a manufacturing plant in Huzhou.
  • In September, Nio announced plans to reduce its headcount to around 7,700 by the end of the year from almost 10,000 in January, as it sought to assuage investor concerns after disappointing second-quarter results.