Being a CEO isn’t easy. Being a CEO of two companies at once is just plain hard, and it’s a reality former Porsche head of R&D Wolfgang Durheimer will soon face as he takes over as Chairman and CEO of both Bentley and Bugatti.
“I am flattered by the trust put in me by the Volkswagen Group,” Durheimer said of the promotion. “To take charge of a company such as Bentley is a significant responsibility. The company has such an illustrious history and the developments made over the past few years have been outstanding. I know I have a lot to learn about the brand and the people but hope my experience with Porsche will serve me well in a new role and a new country.”
A native of Bavaria, the 52-year-old Durheimer has been with Porsche since leaving BMW in 1999, where he was near the top of the R&D department. At Porsche, he took charge of the 911 line and was promoted to head of R&D in 2000. Every Porsche introduced in the past 10 years has had his hands on it.
Durheimer replaces current Bentley and Bugatti Chairman and CEO Franz-Josef Paefgen, who is retiring. Paefgen joined the Volkswagen Group in 1980 and held jobs at the top of both Audi and Lamborghini before taking over Bentley in 2002 and Bugatti Engineering in 2003. Paefgen took over Bugatti completely in 2007. During his time at the two marquees, Paefgen turned both into world-beaters overseeing the development of the wildly successful Bentley Continental and the mighty Bugatti Veyron.
“In his 30 years heading up several of our car brands, he has made a significant contribution to the growth of our company,” said Volkswagen Group chairman Martin Winterkorn. “He has successfully repositioned Bentley and put Bugatti in the technological forefront of automotive engineering.”
Paefgen will officially retire and hand over the reins to Durheimer on February 1, 2011. Though he is officially retiring, Paefgen will continue to consult for Volkswagen Group and Bentley in particular.
“It has been a privilege to have been a small part of the story of Bentley,” said Paefgen. “During my time here we have had some tremendous successes and inevitably faced some real challenges. However, it is the skill, the commitment and the passion of everyone at Crewe that I will treasure the most. In Wolfgang Dürheimer I am convinced we have an individual with a feel for the both the Brand and what makes Bentleys special. The company is in very capable hands.”
Source: Volkswagen Auto Group