Chinese electric car company NextEV has hired Cisco Systems Inc’s former tech head, Padmasree Warrior, as its chief development officer and the chief executive of its U.S. unit.

Warrior, a tech industry veteran who featured in Forbes magazine’s “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” list thrice, was Cisco’s chief technology and strategy officer until September. She has also been the chief technology officer of Motorola.

NextEV, seen as a rival to Tesla Motors Inc, said on Wednesday that Warrior would be responsible for the “brains of NextEV’s autonomous, electric vehicles and the overall user experience.”

NextEV is backed by a group of deep-pocketed China-based investors including Tencent Holdings Ltd and Hillhouse Capital, which is also an investor in U.S. ride-sharing service company Uber.

Warrior, who will join NextEV’s board, is currently a member of the boards of Microsoft Corp, Box Inc and Gap Inc.

“I’ve always looked for opportunities to leverage technology to tackle big problems,” Warrior, 55, said in a statement. “Climate change and air quality are two of the most significant global challenges today. I believe that electric vehicles will play a major role in the overall solution.”

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Xiaomi Technology Co Ltd [XTC.UL] and Leshi Internet Information and Technology Corp Beijing are among other Chinese companies that have announced investments in electric car ventures or are considering it.

NextEV’s other hires are Danilo Teobaldi, the former chief of vehicle concepts at Italdesign Giugiaro; Juho Suh, a former senior designer at BMW, and John Thomas, a former senior program director at Tesla, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

(Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey)

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