Ralf Brandstätter is the Volkswagen brand's new CEO as a promotion over his previous role as the marque's chief operating officer. He takes over the role from Herbert Diess who is currently the CEO of both the VW brand and VW Group as a whole. The change takes effect on July 1. The company's board positions this change as letting Diess put a greater emphasis on running the business, rather than splitting his focus between two roles.
"Ralf Brandstätter is one of the company’s most experienced managers. Over the past two years, he has already led Volkswagen successfully as COO and played a key role in shaping the transformation of the brand," Diess said about Brandstätter's promotion. "I am therefore very pleased that Ralf Brandstätter will be forging ahead with the development of the brand as CEO following the far-reaching strategic decisions of the past few years."
Brandstätter has been with VW since 1993. He became the head of metal procurement for chassis and powertrain components in 1998 and later took a role as the procurement boss for SEAT in 2005. He has been COO for the VW brand since August 2018.
Gallery: Ralf Brandstatter Volkswagen CEO
An earlier report suggested that Volkswagen's board intended to make Porsche CEO Oliver Blume the new boss of the VW brand. Skoda boss Bernhard Maier would have taken the helm at Porsche.
The shakeup comes amid VW having some problems in Europe. The company had to halt deliveries of the new Golf because of an issue with the software for the emergency call function – a mandated feature in Europe. The problem affected around 15,000 cars that the automaker had already delivered to customers.
There are also rumors about problems with the software suite in the company's forthcoming ID.3 electric car. The exact nature of the issue isn't clear, but elements within the system are allegedly not able to communicate correctly. There are reportedly over 10,000 technicians working to solve the problem.
Ralf Brandstätter to lead Volkswagen core brand in future
The Volkswagen Group is reassigning responsibilities for the management of the brand and the Group. The Volkswagen core brand is to be led by the brand’s previous COO, Ralf Brandstätter from July 1, 2020. The CEO of the Volkswagen Group, Dr. Herbert Diess, who had previously been responsible for both functions, will therefore receive greater leeway for his tasks as Group CEO. Within the Group Board of Management, he will retain overall responsibility for Volkswagen Passenger Cars and the Volume brand group. The objective will be a stronger focus on the tasks at the top level of the Group and the brand in the cur-rent transformation phase of the automotive industry. The Supervisory Board took note of this at its meeting held today.
Following the laying of strategic foundations over the past few years with consistent orientation towards e-mobility and the creation of structures for the digitalization of the automobile, the company is now strengthening the top management structures of the Volkswagen Group and brand. The Group Board of Management therefore decided at its meeting held today to appoint Ralf Brandstätter as CEO of the Volkswagen brand effective July 1, 2020.
“Ralf Brandstätter is one of the company’s most experienced managers. Over the past two years, he has already led Volkswagen successfully as COO and played a key role in shaping the transformation of the brand,” said the CEO of Volkswagen AG, Dr. Herbert Diess. “I am therefore very pleased that Ralf Brandstätter will be forging ahead with the development of the brand as CEO following the far-reaching strategic decisions of the past few years.”
After a record year in 2019, the brand is outstandingly well- positioned for the future. Volkswagen has successfully completed the first phase of the Transform 2025+ strategy. The company is now embarking on the next phase. The broad-based electric offensive will now become tangible with new vehicles on the roads. Volkswagen is paving the way to zero-emission mobility for everyone. By 2025, at least 1.5 million electric cars are to be sold. In addition to electrification, the brand will also forge ahead with digitalization over the coming years.
“For Volkswagen, the course towards the future has been set. On the basis of the Transform 2025+ strategy, the brand is developing into one of the leading providers of carbon-neutral mobility and is on the way to becoming a digital technology company. I would like to thank the entire Volkswagen team for their tremendous commitment. We will follow our path resolutely together,” says Ralf Brandstätter.
Ralf Brandstätter was born in Brunswick on September 8, 1968. After training as a shopfitter at the Volkswagen plant in Brunswick, he studied industrial engineering and joined the Volkswagen Group in 1993. Following positions in international project steering in the procurement division, he became an assistant to the Board of Management in the General Secretariat of Volkswagen AG. In 1998 he took charge of metal procurement for chassis and powertrain components and was made project manager for new vehicle projects in 2003. In 2005 he moved to Spain as head of procurement at SEAT. He became the member of the SEAT Executive Committee responsible for Purchasing in 2008. Brandstätter was named Head of Group Procurement Exterior in 2010. He was appointed Head of Group Purchasing New Product Launches in 2012 and was made a General Representative of Volkswagen AG in October 2015. Ralf Brandstätter was appointed a member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand in December 2015.. Brandstätter has been Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand since August 1, 2018.