PARIS - Automobiles Peugeot design chief Murat Gunak is headed back to Daimler-Benz AG.
Gunak, 41, will become second-in-command to Peter Pfeiffer, who will replace Bruno Sacco at the end of this year as head of the Mercedes Design Center in Stuttgart. Sacco will retire at 65 after 40 years with Mercedes.
Gunak has been Peugeot's chief stylist since 1994. He will be replaced by veteran Peugeot designer Gerard Welter.
At Daimler, Gunak will move into Pfeiffer's current job as head of Mercedes-Benz passenger car and light commercial vehicle design. He worked at Daimler-Benz from 1986 to 1994, and was a key contributor to the Mercedes A-class and the SLK roadster.
At Peugeot's La Garenne-Colombes design center, Gunak has helped create a more aggressive style, typified by the new 206 supermini. The 605 replacement due in early 2000 and the successors to the 106 mini and the lower-medium 306 will show his influence.
Gunak started his career as a trainee with Mercedes in the late 1970s. He later worked at Ford's design center in Cologne, Germany, before rejoining Mercedes in 1986.
Welter, 55, has been Gunak's chief deputy. He joined Peugeot in 1960 and has been responsible for exterior design for the past several years. He led styling of the 205, 405 and 605 models. He is a racing enthusiast who designed the Peugeot 905 that won the 24 Hours at Le Mans race three times.
PSA's Automobiles Citroen subsidiary is also expected to get a new top designer later this year. Citroen sources say that chief stylist Art Blakeslee will probably retire at the end of the year.