Often, the move or resignation of top executives at auto brands can foreshadow larger changes within the company. Following yesterday’s news of Audi U.S. chief Johan DeNysschen stepping down comes word of a much larger executive shakeup at Volkswagen AG, according to Bloomberg. The board changes include many of the VW Group’s top properties, including Audi, Bentley, the group’s heavy and commercial truck operations, as well as VW operations in China .
The biggest changes are among VW’s heavy truck brands, with Scania AB CEO Leif Oestling joining the VW board to spearhead integration among Scania, MAN SE, and VW’s own commercial vehicles unit. Current trucks chief will be transitioned to a new post on the VW board responsible for the company’s China operations.
Ulf Berkenhagen, who served as purchasing chief at Audi, will move to a new role as procurement chief at MAN. Bernd Martens, from VW purchasing, will replace Berkenhagen at Audi. Bentley chief Wolfgang Duerheimer will move from the ultra-luxury brand to serve as Audi’s development chief, replacing Michael Dick. Duerheimer will be replaced by another Wolfgang at Audi, with commercial vehicle’s chief Wolfgang Schreiber moving to Bentley to replace Duerheimer.
Finally, current trucks chief Jochem Heizmann will move to VW’s China operations, and will also take a seat on the VW board. VW has significant expansion plans in China including the building of more factories in the western part of the country, part of its strategy to expand beyond the densely-populated coastal areas.
All these changes are part of VW’s larger strategy of surpassing General Motors as the world’s largest automaker.