Audi’s 2017 boardroom shake-up: what it all means

Published: 29 August 2017

► More than half of Audi board replaced
► Four new members out of seven
► Rupert Stadler remains in charge overall

Audi has announced a sweeping change at the top – four out of seven of the company’s board members have been replaced.

The new appointments are as follows:

  • Finance, IT and integrity: Alexander Seitz (formerly commercial executive VP at SAIC Volkswagen)
  • Sales and marketing: Bram Schot (formerly member of management at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles)
  • HR and organisation: Wendelin Göbe (formerly head of VW Group’s board of management office) 
  • Production and logistics: Peter Kössler (formerly chairman of the board at Audi Hungaria, pictured below) 

The changes take effect as of 1 September 2017.

Rupert Stadler remains at the top in conjunction with Matthias Müller, overall chief executive of Volkswagen AG. 

Why is Audi shaking up its board?

While no specific reason for the changes have been stated by Audi officially, it’s essentially understood that the new line-up is part of the ongoing ramifications of the VW Group’s 2015 Dieselgate scandal, in which Audi’s V6 engine was implicated.  

Peter Kössler

‘Our shared goal with the new board of management team and a strong workforce is now to set the course for the future and to systematically move forward with our transformation towards e-mobility, digitisation and mobility services,’ said Stadler.

The background

In November 2016, Audi hired Peter Mertens, formerly senior VP for R&D at Volvo, as its new R&D chief. But in late July 2017, the supervisory board fired four of his colleagues in charge of HR (Thomas Sigi), sales and marketing (Dietmar Voggenreiter), finance (Axel Strotbek) and production (Hubert Waltl).

It’s understood that aspects of Audi’s operations may come under the management compass of Porsche in the future. Hence why Porsche boss Oliver Blume was not one of the new appointments – he wants to remain at the helm at the sports car maker, where additional duties will crop up if increased collaboration with Audi is to take place - which is the writing on the wall in Wolfsburg, Ingolstadt and Zuffenhausen.

CAR understands that Luca de Meo, president  of Seat, and his sales and marketing officer Wayne Griffiths also said a polite 'No' to advances from their former employer.

Why is Rupert Stadler still in charge of the brand which is responsible for the V6 element of the big diesel fraud?

Because it makes no sense to sack the captain together with the sailors; because scouting for suitable replacements is in this situation a needle-in-the-haystack job; and because there are still not all the facts, accusations and allegations on the table. To protect the next supremo from late effects of the diesel disaster, the current chairman will likely have to take the flak until next spring, at least; reports suggest Stadler's contract may continue for another five years.

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