Audi continues to report all-time highs in sales and profitability. In the first half, the brand booked record figures for all key financial indicators. The company looks set for a record 2011 – after a record 2010.
Axel Strotbek is the man making sure that the numbers add up. He compares the task of balancing investment in new products and technology while keeping a tight rein on costs to "walking a tightrope."
Between 2011 and 2015, Audi plans to invest 11.6 billion euros, mainly to boost its product lineup and to keep its technological edge.
Strotbek also must make sure that Audi isn't caught by the volatile conditions of the global economy as the ambitious brand powers head with its goal of surpassing
BMW and Mercedes-Benz as the world's best-selling and most profitable premium marque.
As it chases this goal Audi is significantly boosting its product lineup and CEO Rupert Stadler values Strotbek's skills in assessing whether the business case for a new car is sound. Stadler also appreciates Strotbek's knowledge of the key Chinese market, which Audi calls its "second home market" after Germany.
Strotbek was finance chief for VW Group in China from 2004 to 2007 when he was named Audi's top financial officer.
The German also has 20 years' experience with VW group to help him meet the challenges ahead. He joined VW brand's controlling and accounting department in 1991, winning promotion nine years later to managing director for Volkswagen Sachsen whose Zwickau factory builds Golfs and Passats.
An industrial engineer by training, he studied in Germany and Sweden before gaining an MBA at University of Illinois in Chicago.