As we reported yesterday, the news that Tesla is developing a semi truck set to be unveiled next year is probably the biggest surprise to come out of Elon Musk’s ‘Master Plan Part 2’.

When reading the plan and despite containing little details about the new division, I was already pretty excited at the prospect of an electric Tesla truck, but now that Musk confirmed that Jerome Guillen is in charge of the program, which he dubbed ‘Tesla Semi’, I’m even more excited.

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Guillen is best known for being the Model S Program Director during a crucial time for Tesla’s vehicle program (2010-2013), but prior to joining Tesla, he was a longtime Daimler engineer and led the development of the successful Cascadia truck.

He earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering at the École Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancées in Paris, France, his home country. He went on to earn a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan.

After starting his career at McKinsey & Co, he quickly moved to Freightliner, Daimler’s truck division, and oversaw the development of the new generation of Class 8 trucks, which led to the Cascadia.

freightliner-cascadia-evolutionIn 2007, he founded Daimler’s Business Innovation group, which he led until surprisingly joining Tesla in 2010 as ‘Model S program Director’. He led the program from the Alpha prototype to the release in 2012 and the production ramp up in early 2013. While in charge of the Model S program, he also temporarily led the vehicle engineering group as ‘Acting VP of Vehicle Engineering’.

He then became in charge of Tesla’s entire sales and service operations as ‘VP of Worldwide Sales and Service’ during its important retail ramp up from 2013 to 2015.

Last year, he took a leave of absence and Tesla changed its sales leadership structure by breaking down the responsibilities per region and hiring Jon McNeil as ‘President of Global sales and service’. The company also hired former Burberry executive Ganesh Srivats as Vice-President for North America Sales, Ren Yuxiang as Vice-President for Asia-Pacific, Willem Haitink, former O’Neil CEO and former long-time Nike executive, to lead sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Guillen went back to Tesla earlier this year as VP of Programs, according to his LinkedIn profile, but we now learn that he is in charge of ‘Tesla Semi’. Elon Musk confirmed:

With Guillen’s leadership and experience, it bodes well for Tesla’s new venture. Musk confirmed that the project is only in the early stages of development, but he also said that it could be ready for an unveiling as soon as next year.

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