Audi names Volkswagen strategy chief Doellner as new CEO

FRANKFURT (Reuters) -Volkswagen’s Audi named the German group’s strategy chief as its new CEO on Thursday, as the luxury carmaker seeks to catch up with rivals in the dash towards electrification, including in China, the world’s top car market.

Gernot Doellner, who replaces Markus Duesmann, will become CEO with effect from September, Audi said, after the luxury automaker’s supervisory board passed a resolution on Thursday.

Doellner is a Volkswagen Group veteran who joined the company as a doctoral student in 1993 and rose through the ranks to become head of product development at Porsche.

He headed up the Panamera series from 2011 to 2018 and became head of product strategy at Volkswagen AG in 2021.

“Audi is a fantastic company with a rich history,” Doellner said, adding: “I look forward to shaping the company’s future together with the entire team at Audi.”

Duesmann’s replacement is the second major leadership reshuffle at Volkswagen Group on Chief Executive Oliver Blume’s watch, after he dismissed all but one of the executive team at software unit Cariad and appointed Bentley production chief Peter Bosch as its head.

A source close to Volkswagen, who declined to be named, said managers at the highest level at Audi were dissatisfied with the premium carmaker’s business performance, leading to Duesmann’s replacement.

Audi has lagged behind fellow German carmakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz in the pivot towards electrification and its sales performance in China has fallen short of expectations.

A new electric SUV model, the Q6 e-tron, will be released at the end of this year after numerous delays. Its launch will mark the start of a product offensive spanning more than 20 new models – half of them electric – by 2025.

(Reporting by Christina Amann, Jan Schwartz, Ilona Wissenbach; Writing by Christoph Steitz, Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Tom Sims, Emma Rumney, and Hans Seidenstuecker)


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