Stephan Winkelmann confirmed as new Lamborghini CEO

Published: 18 November 2020

Winkelmann to become Lambo CEO
► Second stint as boss will start on 1 December
► Will be a joint CEO role with Bugatti

Having spent almost three years at the helm of Bugatti, Stephan Winkelmann, 56, will return to Lamborghini as CEO alongside his role as Bugatti president.

This would be his second term at the Italian sports car maker where the charismatic son of a diplomat was strapped in the hot seat between 2005 and 2016. The previous CEO, Stefano Domenicali, quit his job to join the Formula 1 marketer Liberty Media.

In a similar way to Winkelmann, Wolfgang Dürheimer used to be the joint CEO of Bugatti and Bentley starting in 2011 (first term) and then again in 2014.

Bugatti first confirmed the new role for Winkelmann via Twitter, two days after CAR originally reported the move would happen.

What has Winkelmann done for Bugatti?

Under his leadership of the Molsheim-based boutique car maker, the wiry German-born top manager kicked off the Divo and Centodieci, as well as the La Voiture Noire one-off for Ferdinand Piech and the lightweight Bolide concept, not to mention additional iterations of the Chiron hypercar limited to 500 vehicles.

Stephan Winkelmann Bugatti

His attempts to introduce a second model range - a front-engined super coupe and a hyper-CUV were among the favourites - failed, but certainly not due to a lack of creativity and enthusiasm. Instead, the Wolfsburg bigwigs felt in the wake of Piech’s passing away no longer compelled to support the Bugatti brand.

What would Winkelmann arrive to at Lamborghini?

The charismatic, super-fit and overtly fashion-conscious Stephan Winkelmann is the best ambassador the Lamborghini brand ever had. He was sorely missed by many down the Emilia Romagna, and there is no doubt he will be welcomed again with open arms. After all, the CEO had in his previous career forged strong ties with the CTO Maurizio Reggiani, the personnel chief Tossini and the senior procurement officer Foschini.

While the CFO Poma is new to the ranks and thus kind of an unknown quantity, two other board members are said to be in the line of fire when the management change is complete. In the end, the race for the throne was decided between three candidates, one external and two internal. The latter was Jörg Astalosch, who currently heads ItalDesign but is claimed to be Skoda's new CFO-elect, starting there in March 2021. Unlike Astalosch, Winkelmann is a car guy who knows product as well as brand and marketing. You want proof of this? Simply check out the current Lamborghini line-up which was put in place by SW himself whose claim to fame includes such showroom magnets as the Urus.

Stephan Winkelmann Lambo

While the Aventador replacement was signed off almost one year ago, the Huracan 2.0, the new Urus and the tentative fourth model range are still in their infancy.

What does Volkswagen have in mind for Lamborghini?

According to the Wolfsburg grapevine, plans to go public with Lamborghini, Ducati and Ital Design are well advanced - but due to the coronavirus pandemic and the volatile markets, this move may have to wait until early 2022, sources claim. Needless to say, VW intends to keep the majority of shares.

To ensure this is time gained, not time lost, the powers in charge are about to pull out all the stops to plant Lamborghini even more firmly in corporate ground. Prospects like the option to twin the next Huracan with the next Audi super sports car and a dedicated modular electrification strategy for said sports cars are being discussed.

Whether these and related measures will calm the waters in the Bermuda triangle between Sant´ Agata, Ingolstadt and Zuffenhausen remains to be seen.

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel