Back in August Volkswagen denied rumours that it was going to hire former DaimlerChrysler exec Wolfgang Bernhard. ‘Nonsense’ they said.
On 6th October it announced that Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, 44, is to be appointed a full member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG – initially without portfolio – with effect from 1 February 2005.
In his capacity as member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG/the Volkswagen Group, Mr Bernhard should then take up the post of Chairman of the Volkswagen brand no later than 1 January 2006.
Dr. Bernd Pischetsrieder, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, commented: “We are delighted that such a respected expert on our industry and experienced automotive manager will be joining our Group. We have already been working on the effective unbundling of brand and Group functions at Volkswagen for over a year. Dr. Bernhard will manage the VW brand independently as soon as we have fully completed this process.”
Bernhard comes to Volkswagen with a reputation as a tough cost-cutter and a hands-on manager who will not shy away from restructuring and anything that is necessary to improve the performance of the Volkswagen brand.
He is seen as a key figure who helped get Chrysler back on its feet.
DaimlerChrysler abruptly bumped Bernhard from the job that he was supposedly being groomed for – head of the Mercedes Car Group division – just days before he was due to start in May. He left the company in July and the rumours about his next port of call promptly circulated, with Volkswagen seen as most likely.