Winners and losers in VW's management overhaul
New China, Bentley chiefs named; three Audi board members replaced
Volkswagen Group's overhaul of senior management aims at improving the automaker's performance in three key areas: China, Audi and heavy trucks.
The reshuffle creates a management board position dedicated solely to China - VW's single largest market - and replaces three board members at Audi, the premium brand that drives the group's profitability.
Among the main winners in the shake-up were:
Jochem Heizmann, who gets the new board post overseeing VW Group's China operations, moving from his current role as head of heavy trucks. As VW's production chief from 2007 to 2010, Heizmann oversaw the introduction of a new flexible factory layout used for the company's new plants in Pune, India and in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His skills are needed in China where VW is investing 14 billion euros ($17.3 billion) in the next four years to expand production. Heizmann, 60, is a close aide of VW CEO Martin Winterkorn.
Luca de Meo, 44, who was named head of sales and marketing at Audi, winning promotion to a board-level post from his current job as VW group marketing boss. De Meo is a former Sergio Marchionne protege who was credited with the successful launch of the Fiat 500 in Europe in 2007. He quit as Fiat's chief marketing officer in 2009 to join VW. His task will be to bring fresh marketing ideas to Audi to help the premium brand achieve its goal of overtaking BMW as the top luxury carmaker by 2015.
Luca De Meo moves to Audi
Wolfgang Duerheimer, 53, becomes Audi's head of technical development, moving to the brand from his current role as Bentley CEO. Duerheimer is a former r&d boss of Porsche. At Audi, his challenges will be improving the brand's lightweight technology, fuel efficiency and connectivity, CEO Rupert Stadler said in a letter sent to the brand's workers on Sunday.
Bernd Martens, Audi's new purchasing boss, who moves to the brand from VW where he was head of purchasing for VW's new models. The first challenge for Martens, 46, will be to develop a supplier structure for Audi's new factory in Mexico, Stadler said.
Wolfgang Schreiber, who was named new CEO of Bentley and Bugatti. Schreiber, 53, is currently head of VW's commercial vehicles unit, but knows ultraluxury sports cars from his time as chief engineer for the Bugatti Veyron.
Juergen Stackmann, Ford Motor Co.'s former No. 2 in Germany, who joined VW in 2010. He replaces de Meo as VW marketing head, moving from a similar position at the group's Czech brand Skoda.
Leif Oestling, who will join VW's management board to help create a cost-saving alliance between VW-controlled heavy truck manufacturers Scania and MAN and VW's commercial vehicles unit. Oestling has run Scania for 23 years, helping the Swedish truckmaker to become an industry leader in profitability.
Executives who lost out in the changes include:
Karl-Thomas Neumann, head of VW's China operations since September 2010. Neumann, 51, turned down the post of chief technology officer at Skoda, reports said. Winterkorn said he is seeking a new role for the executive, who is a former CEO of supplier Continental and was touted at a possible Winterkorn successor when he joined VW three years ago.
Neumann turned down Skoda job.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, Audi's sales and marketing chief since 2008, who leaves the automaker. Schwarzenbauer, 52, started his career with BMW and is a former CEO of Porsche Cars North America.
Michael Dick, Audi's technical development chief since 2007, is retiring at the relatively young age of 60.
Announcing the changes at a press conference in Stuttgart on Saturday, Winterkorn said the aim was to further intensify knowledge transfer and management links within the group while continuing to allow all the group's brands a high degree of operational autonomy and responsibility.
"All changes are internal. It is important to have people in leadership positions who know the company," he said.
VW aims to become the world's biggest and most profitable car manufacturer by 2018, aiming to overtake General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. by boosting auto deliveries across its multibrand group to 10 million annually. Four-month sales this year rose 9 percent to 2.89 million vehicles.
Douglas A. Bolduc, Reuters and Bloomberg contributed
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