Audi has a new leader as Gernot Döllner replaces Markus Duesmann as the automaker's Chairman of the Board of Management. The change takes effect on September 1. Duesmann is leaving the automaker after leading the Four Rings since April 2020.
"I’m honored and excited to be taking on this new role. Audi is a fantastic company with a rich history. I look forward to shaping the company’s future together with the entire team at Audi," Döllner said.
Döllner has worked his way up the ranks within the Volkswagen Group since joining the business in 1993. His first position was as a systems analyst for VW. He moved to Porsche in 1998 and then led the division's Vehicle Concepts and Package department from 2001 to 2010. At the same time, he was the project manager for creating the Porsche 918 Spyder in 2009 and 2010. From 2011 to 2018, Döllner was in charge of the Panamera series. Then, he became head of the Product and Concept department.
In 2021, Döllner returned to the VW brand to lead simultaneously Group Strategy, Group Strategy Product, and the General Secretariat. In those roles, he reported directly to VW Group's then-CEO Herbert Diess.
Volkswagen Group CEO Oliver Blume recently had harsh words to say about Audi during the Capital Markets Day presentation. "We have faced severe software problems that delayed the launch of exciting electric products," Blume said. He also brought up Audi's products not being competitive enough in China. Sales in that major market are down 16 percent in the first quarter of 2023 versus the same period in 2022.
The software issues led to delays for several premium EVs. For example, the automaker had to push back the Audi-branded offering to 2027 after originally hoping to introduce it in 2024. Bentley reportedly had to postpone its version until around 2030 rather than 2025.