New Boss for Audi: Fresh From BMW, Markus Duesmann Takes Over As CEO in April

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
new boss for audi fresh from bmw markus duesmann takes over as ceo in april

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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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Nov 15, 2019

    "determined decarbonization of the company" No more #2 pencils, I guess.

    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Nov 17, 2019

      No carbon-based life forms to make mistakes... this idea might have merit.

  • Thejohnnycanuck Thejohnnycanuck on Nov 15, 2019

    So instead of ugly-ass ICE SUVs we can look forward to ugly-ass EV SUVs. Check please...

  • FreedMike This article fails to mention that Toyota is also investing heavily in solid state battery tech - which would solve a lot of inherent EV problems - and plans to deploy it soon. course, Toyota being Toyota, it will use the tech in hybrids first, which is smart - that will give them the chance to iron out the wrinkles, so to speak. But having said that, I’m with Toyota here - I’m not sold on an all EV future happening anytime soon. But clearly the market share for these vehicles has nowhere to go but up; how far up depends mainly on charging availability. And whether Toyota’s competitors are all in is debatable. Plenty of bet-hedging is going on among makers in the North American market.
  • Jeff S I am not against EVs but I completely understand Toyota's position. As for Greenpeace putting Toyota at the bottom of their environmental list is more drama. A good hybrid uses less gas, is cleaner than most other ICE, and is more affordable than most EVs. Prius has proven longevity and low maintenance cost. Having had a hybrid Maverick since April and averaging 40 to 50 mpg in city driving it has been smooth driving and very economical. Ford also has very good hybrids and some of the earlier Escapes are still going strong at 300k miles. The only thing I would have liked in my hybrid Maverick would be a plug in but it didn't come with it. If Toyota made a plug in hybrid compact pickup like the Maverick it would sell well. I would consider an EV in the future but price, battery technology, and infrastructure has to advance and improve. I don't buy a vehicle based on the recommendation of Greenpeace, as a status symbol, or peer pressure. I buy a vehicle on what best needs my needs and that I actually like.
  • Mobes Kind of a weird thing that probably only bothers me, but when you see someone driving a car with ball joints clearly about to fail. I really don't want to be around a car with massive negative camber that's not intentional.
  • Jeff S How reliable are Audi? Seems the Mazda, CRV, and Rav4 in the higher trim would not only be a better value but would be more reliable in the long term. Interior wise and the overall package the Mazda would be the best choice.
  • Pickles69 They have a point. All things (or engines/propulsion) to all people. Yet, when the analogy of being, “a department store,” of options is used, I shudder. Department stores are failing faster than any other retail. Just something to chew on.