Audi has realigned its R&D department: Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler, Board Member for Development, is leaving the company at his own request and Audi CEO Markus Duesmann is taking over as Head of Technical Development for the brand with immediate effect.
The Ingolstadt-based company announced this in a press release. Two managers will support Duesmann: a Chief Operating Officer, who will coordinate the day-to-day business of the developers, and a Chief Transition Architect, who will organize the realignment of development at Audi. Audi itself states in the announcement that Duesmann will place a particular focus on process quality in the realignment.
VW Group Chairman Herbert Diess, who is also Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Audi, thanked the outgoing Head of Development Rothenspieler for his 34 years with the Group. “Many cars from Volkswagen, Bentley, Škoda and most recently Audi bear his signature,” Diess said. “The Supervisory Board thanks Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler for 34 years of successful work at the Volkswagen Group and wishes him all the best for the future. I am convinced that Markus Duesmann will accelerate the transformation with a view to the Audi aspiration of ‘Vorsprung durch Technik.’ (Progress through technology)”
Peter Mosch, Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board and Chairman of the General Works Council at Audi, also thanked Rothenpieler, who “has given stability to the entire development team in turbulent times and after many personnel changes”. Rothenpieler was the fifth Board Member for Development at Audi in 2018 in just six years.
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Duesmann has only been Chairman of the Board of Management at Audi since 1 April, and the engineer is also responsible for Group-wide research and development on the Board of Management. However, the new structure of the development department with Duesmann and the COO and CTA may not sound as final as it is: According to information from the Automobilwoche, Duesmann is to head the development department only temporarily until Audi will find a suitable successor.
Also, another decision by the Audi Supervisory Board indicates that Duesmann will not remain Board Member for Development in the long term. The supervisors approved the creation of a new division that will manage the model series with currently 65 models and the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) project house as an independent unit. Duesmann, in his additional function as Board Member for Development, will head the new division in personal union. The Chairman of the Board of Management will also assume direct responsibility for the brand’s China business in the future – this task was previously part of Audi’s Finance department.
The current model series organization was introduced at Audi 2016 and will be upgraded with the new department. The unspecified Series business unit is to have sovereignty over the products and manage them. It is then to act internally as the client for Technical Development. “This realignment strengthens the vehicle-project business and the strategic importance of the model series,” says Duesmann about the new business unit. “It will enable us to focus even more strongly on our products within the company.”
With his position as Chairman of the Board of Management, responsibility for Group Development, China business and Audi Development, including the new business unit, Duesmann has assumed many essential positions in just three months.
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