By on November 25, 2016

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Audi was in the market for a new technical development chief after losing the last two to Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating scandal. This time around it wisely decided to shop outside of the company store, poaching top Volvo R&D chief Peter Mertens.

The automaker has high hopes for its growing crop of Swedish-sourced talent.

“Peter Mertens had the best combination of qualities and experience,” an Audi spokesman told Automotive News Europe.

Prior to his four years as Volvo’s senior vice president of R&D, Mertens served as head of corporate quality for Jaguar Land Rover and worked as a vehicle line executive for General Motors. He has a background in production technology and a doctorate in engineering from the University of Kaiserslautern.

In a statement, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said, “Mertens has exceptionally broad technical expertise and an international background in the automotive industry. These are ideal qualifications for him to make further progress with the Technical Development division at Audi.”

Two of Mertens’ predecessors were removed from their positions due to potential involvement in Volkswagen Group’s violation of emissions testing regulations, making him look like a golden boy in comparison. Automotive News Europe named Mertens as one of its fourteen Eurostars this year, citing his important role in Volvo’s turnaround.

This is the German’s second big get from Volvo’s development team in the last few months. Thomas Mueller was lured away from the Swedish brand to become Audi’s head of electrics and electronics in August. Last year, Mueller’s work resulted in him being named one of the rising stars in the European automotive industry by Automotive News Europe.

Mertens and Mueller will be continuing their work together “at the earliest possible opportunity,” according to Audi.

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