FRANKFURT -- Ford of Europe quality chief Gunnar Herrmann will be the next head of the automaker's German operations.
Herrmann, 56, will succeed Bernhard Mattes on Jan. 1, 2017. Mattes, who has been Ford Germany boss for 14 years, will join the division's supervisory board, the automaker said in a statement.
Herrmann will retain his position as vice president quality at Ford of Europe, a Ford spokeswoman said.
Germany is a key market for Ford in Europe. Through August, Ford's new-car sales in the country increased by 11 percent to 161,901 units, giving it a 7.2 percent market share, according to data from the KBA motor vehicle authority. That result left Ford just behind rival General Motors' Opel brand, which increased sales 8 percent to 163,900 units during the period, resulting in a 7.3 percent share of German sales.
Herrmann, a German national, joined Ford as a trainee in 1986 at its factory in Cologne, Germany. Following his apprenticeship, he studied vehicle manufacturing and automotive engineering in Hamburg and England.
In 1998, Herrmann became body engineering manager for the original Focus, which debuted that year. Four years later, he was promoted to vehicle line director for Ford's global C-segment models, where he presided over the development of the automaker's next generation of compact-sized cars. He won an Automotive News Europe Eurostar award in 2011 for the work he did on the architecture that would underpin 10 vehicles and accounted for annual worldwide production of more than 2 million units.
The platform was a key part of former Ford CEO Alan Mulally's One Ford plan to leverage the automaker's global scale.
In 2012, Herrmann was appointed to Ford of Europe's board of management as vice president of quality.
In a further appointment, Wolfgang Kopplin will assume the newly created role of deputy CEO at Ford Germany. The 49-year-old executive is currently head of sales and marketing at the unit and a member of Ford Germany's management board. Prior to this, he held various roles in finance, marketing and sales. Kopplin will also take up his new role on Jan. 1.