New VW Group of America president and CEO Jonathan Browning replaces Stefan Jacoby who moved to Volvo

New VW Group of America president and CEO Jonathan Browning replaces Stefan Jacoby who moved to Volvo

For some reason, Monday turned out to be auto industry musical chairs day, led by a late-break (for us in Europe) confirmation from VW of a key new US executive.

First up, we learned that Wilfried Aulbur has resigned as Mercedes Benz India MD and CEO "to accept new challenges outside the Daimler group within India" but will remain with the organisation till his successor is found, according to a company statement.

Next up, Toyota GB named Jon Williams as its new managing director, effective 1 October, to replace Miguel Fonseca, appointed vice president of sales and marketing at Toyota Motor Europe in Brussells. He headed the UK unit for four years.

Fonseca is replacing Andrea Formica, reportedly jumping ship to Fiat to replace Lorenzo Sistino who has headed sales at the Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Fiat car and Fiat light commercial vehicle brands since January 2009. Fiat has refused to comment on the reports - that added Sistino would remain with Fiat though it was not clear if he would keep his CEO jobs at Fiat's car and light commercial vehicle brands. All is expected to be revealed later this month when Fiat CEO Segio Marchionne announces a big overhaul.

Meanwhile, Magna International today announced that Siegfried Wolf, its co-chief executive officer, has resigned as a director and officer effective 15 November "in order to pursue an opportunity with Basic Element and its machinery division OJSC Russian Machines, the parent company of Russian automotive OEM, GAZ Group".

Magna's board said Donald Walker will now be Magna's sole chief executive officer.

Finally, VW confirmed in Washington what the rumour mill - and various news agencies - had already conveyed at the weekend: it named seasoned industry veteran Jonathan Browning president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America effective 1 October. He currently heads the group's national sales companies.

"Jonathan Browning is an acknowledged expert on this [US] market, its customers and its sales structures," VW said, reiterating the 2018 target of 200,000 Audi and 800,000 VW sales there.

Browning replaces Stefan Jacoby, who said in June that he was leaving to run Volvo Cars for China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. Browning has held numerous executive sales and marketing posts worldwide at General Motors (GM) and Ford Motor Company. He was vice president of European sales, service and marketing at the GM Group from 2001 to 2008, and simultaneously chairman of Vauxhall Motors from 2006 to 2008, becoming GM vice president of global sales, service and marketing in 2008.

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