By on November 15, 2019

Image: Audi

Eleven months after making interim CEO Bram Schot a permanent fixture in the big chair, Audi AG’s board has found someone else to lead the luxury brand.

Markus Duesmann, a mechanical engineer who served as BMW’s board member in charge of purchasing until his contract ran out in September, will take over from Schot on April 1st, 2020. Schot has apparently decided to leave Volkswagen Group at the end of March “by best mutual agreement.” He got the job after his predecessor, Rupert Stadler, was arrested for suspected involvement in the company’s diesel emissions scandal.

Duesmann, 50, takes the helm of the brand at a significant and challenging time. Like its parent, Ausi is wildly invested in electrification, seeing the switch from fossil fuels to electrons as the only path forward. The brand’s first battery-electric product, the E-Tron crossover, hit the market earlier this year.

Audi won’t have the market to itself. With European lawmakers in love with ever-more-stringent emissions mandates, pushing hard into electrification has as much to do with financial survival as it does clean air and stable temperatures. Rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz plan to basically match the brand product-for-product.

Of course, Bimmer’s plans will be no secret to the incoming CEO, a man whose outside-the-company origins is useful at a time when German investigators are still snooping around.

“As an excellent engineer, Markus Duesmann will do everything in his power to leverage the great potential of the Audi brand and will once again demonstrate the promise of Vorsprung durch Technik,” VW Group CEO Herbert Diess said in a statement.

That said, the brand stressed what it really wants Duesmann to achieve. “Among the most important cornerstones of the new Audi strategy are the accelerated transformation into a provider of sustainable mobility and the determined decarbonization of the company,” Audi said.

Sustainable likely has a double meaning here.

Peter Mosch, chairman of the company’s general works council, didn’t let his mind stray far from his members in welcoming Duesmann aboard, stating his desire to see the future CEO “ensure stable capacity utilization at the plants and to promote more courage to take the lead through technology.”

Both Mosch and Diess had kind words for the departing Schot, who took the helm at a rocky time. “He started a cultural transformation towards fewer hierarchies, a clear value system and more openness,” Mosch said.

[Image: Audi AG]

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