Bentley appoints Stefan Sielaff as new design chief, as Luc Donckerwolke quits

Published: 04 June 2015

► Bentley shakes up its design leadership
► Stefan Sielaff takes over the pencil case
► Luc Donckerwolke leaves after three years

It's all change at the Bentley styling department, as Crewe today announces Volkswagen veteran Stefan Sielaff is the new director of design - replacing Luc Donckerwolke.

That means that Donckerwolke's spell at Bentley was decidedly short; he only joined in 2012, charged with sorting out the EXP9 F concept that is set to spawn Bentley's new Bentayga SUV due in autumn 2015 and giving the range a new impetus.

Bentley will not disclose the private reasons why Donckerwolke has decided to leave. 

Stefan Sielaff: the new man in charge of Bentley's design team

The new director of design at Bentley Motors is a VW Group stalwart with more than a quarter of a century's service, with a short three-year spell at rival Mercedes-Benz. Sielaff was design director at Audi for five years from 2006 and currently heads up Volkswagen group interior design and the company's design centre in Potsdam.

He jumps ship to Bentley on 1 July 2015, where he will report to Bentley engineering boss Rolf Frech. But in an unusual move, he retains his position as as head of Volkswagen Group Interior Design, where he is responsible to overall Volkswagen group design director Walter de Silva.

Sielaff is 53 years old and a German national, but took his vehicle design degree at the Royal College of Art in London. 

The Bentley boss's explanation

Chairman and CEO Wolfgang Durheimer said: 'Bentley is entering one of the most important phases in the company’s history, with significant plans for new models. With his experience, creative vision and passion for the Bentley brand Stefan Sielaff is perfectly placed to lead the design of our future models.

'I would like to thank Luc Donckerwolke for the significant contribution he has made in his nearly three years at Bentley, overseeing the continuation of a very successful period, and I wish him all the very best for the future.'

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet