Volkswagen appoints new design overlord and tech chief

Published: 18 December 2015

► Porsche’s Michael Mauer new VW head of design
► Ulrich Eichorn returns as tech boss

► The fall-out from #Dieselgate continues

VW has appointed a raft of new high-profile staff members as the car-making giant restructures in the wake of the #Dieselgate scandal. It has confirmed a new group design chief to replace Walter de’Silva and an R&D head with a remit to make its cars whiter than white.

As part of the shake-up, half the senior leadership team has been stripped out – meaning a leaner, more focused executive, Wolfsburg hopes.

A new tech boss

Dr Ulrich Eichhorn is Volkswagen’s new head of research and development, after Ulrich Hackenberg stepped down following criticism over VW’s emissions crisis. Eichhorn has many years of experience at VW, having headed up the research team from 2000 to 2003. 

He was then made a board member for engineering at subsidiary Bentley, before taking over as managing director of the German Association of the Automotive Industry in 2012.

VW appoints a new design chief too

Porsche’s styling chief, Michael Mauer, will also head up design across the VW group, following top designer De’Silva’s retirement. Mauer is a stalwart of the design universe with a CV stretching back more than 30 years. 

He began his career at Mercedes-Benz, where he designed the A-class, SLK and SL models until leaving in 2000 to join Saab and GM. He then jumped ship to Volkswagen-owned Porsche since 2004, and was responsible for designing the Cayenne, Panamera, and 918 Spyder.

‘These structural changes speed up the decision-making process, reduce complexity, and increase efficiency,’ said VW CEO Matthias Mueller. ‘The team in the CEO’s area of responsibility is almost complete. Our new lean structure will enable us to develop the considerable potential of our company, its brands and employees. We will see faster decision-making and more efficient action.’

Click here to see De’Silva’s greatest hits in CAR+.