Car Division CEO
Markus Duesmann, 52
Chairman of the Board of Management, Audi
TITLE: Chairman of the Board of Management
BASED: Ingolstadt, Germany
Markus Duesmann began his automotive career in 1992 as a design engineer for V-12 engines at Mercedes-Benz. He moved to manager of diesel engine development in 2004, and the next year became head of Mercedes’ Formula One engine development in Brixworth, England. He moved to BMW in 2007 as head of F1 powertrain, and rose to become a member of the board of management, responsible for purchasing and supplier network in 2016. He was appointed to his current position at Audi effective April 2020; he is also responsible for Audi’s China operations as well as overseeing Audi’s product lines. Duesmann holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Muenster.
REASON FOR WINNING
In less than a year at the helm of Audi, Markus Duesmann managed to return the Volkswagen Group premium brand to a level of profitability not seen in years. In the first half, Audi delivered 3.1 billion euros in operating profit, equivalent to a 10.7 percent margin, after five years of low-single-digit margins. Duesmann did not have an easy start: Under the pandemic-inducted lockdown, he was forced to meet most of his new team using digital tools only. And as a veteran of the brave new post-COVID world, Duesmann has been successfully leading Audi’s Chinese operations -- without traveling to China.
These limitations did not keep him from announcing a bold strategy: Audi will phase out the production of internal combustion engines by 2033 in every market except for China, and from 2026 every model launched globally will be electric-only. By 2025, Duesmann said, Audi will have more than 20 full-electric models in its lineup.