Volkswagen’s Dettlef Wittig will become the new chairman of the board at Skoda Auto, replacing Czech Vratislav Kulhanek, Reuters reported.

Kulhanek reportedly will stay at Skoda as its supervisory board chairman, replacing Wittig from October 1. Wittig was in charge of finance, sales and marketing at Skoda between 1995 and 2000 before he was named to Volkswagen’s board of directors.

Reuters noted that 60-year-old Kulhanek had indicated his intention to gradually leave business and focus on his new role as the head of the Czech Ice Hockey Association – Skoda Auto is the biggest Czech company and exporter and together with its suppliers accounts for some 10% of the new EU member’s GDP.

Kulhanek has been the sole Czech on the board of the fully owned Volkswagen unit, the report added, noting that Wittig’s key task will be to resist rising domestic competition and further penetrate western European markets where the Skoda brand used to be long a target of bitter jokes for poor quality before Volkswagen took over in 1991.

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