Herbert Demel is the Sao Paolo-based president of VW Brazil and former head of Audi. Good people skills have helped his career. His knack for understanding comes from his family's background in psychology and psychiatry.
President of VW Brazil.
President of Audi AG. I also held several other senior positions at Audi, including vice president of research and development, and director of drivetrain development.
First job in the auto business:
Robert Bosch, developing antilock brakes, traction control and transmission systems.
German, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Married with four children.
I come from a typical Viennese family of psychologists and psychiatrists. But I had a childhood wish to become a racing driver, and became interested in engineering as a result. Those two influences - psychology and technology - helped me to achieve a lot. The psychology aspect helped me work with and understand people.
What's in your garage?
An Audi A6 and A8 - both quattros - and a VW Santana.
To guide, lead and motivate people.
Until now I have only left successful products behind me.
How do you relax?
With my family. I live in Sao Paolo. I swim and walk the dog. I play tennis, golf and sometimes I fish.
Do you work weekends?
I like to keep my job and my family apart, but some papers just follow me home.
Your worst business crisis?
Two years of recession in South America.
What company do you most admire?
Bosch. It has an excellent company culture. It is divided into automotive and non-automotive divisions. It has a strategy of long-term policy making, of looking far ahead into the future.
At the moment I am deep into my children's books - their favorites are Robin Hood and The Aristocats.
Meat and fish. We have excellent meat here, although Argentinean meat is better than Brazilian.
Any good Japanese restaurant.
What car would you liked to have worked on?
Any of the old Jaguars. They were so stylish and cultured.
What do you do on an airplane?
Sleep and read. I hardly ever work on planes, not even on long-distance flights.
What do you dislike most about yourself?
I like to think of myself as being broad-minded, but I do sometimes get into difficulties with foreign cultures.
Don't take anything too seriously.