Bentley and Rolls Royce managing director Tony Gott will be leaving Volkswagen as chief executive designate Bernd Pischetsrieder begins making changes at the German manufacturer.
Bentley and Rolls Royce managing director Tony Gott will be leaving as the chief executive designate of its parent company Volkswagen, Bernd Pischetsrieder, begins making changes.
Volkswagen has announced that Gott’s departure is based on mutual consent. He will "pursue other tasks".
The company said a successor would be appointed at a later stage. Its board member for finance and systems, Hans-Georg Melching, will handle the two brands, which VW bought in 1998. Rights to the Rolls-Royce marque are scheduled to be handed over to BMW at the end of 2002. It is believed that the separation of Rolls-Royce and Bentley has caused tension within the company.
This is one of the first management changes ahead of Pischetsrieder’s reign, but more changes are expected at the supervisory board meeting on November 23.
The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that Audi chief executive Franz-Josef Paefgen could also be leaving next month.
Outgoing Volkswagen boss Ferdinand Piëch has been critical of the Audi division’s strategy lately, despite Audi sales having risen by seven per cent in the first half of the year, and its profit of R37,52 billion is 19 per cent more than the same period last year.
It is believed that Paefgen’s downfall began at Le Mans, when he used Audi’s 454 kW direct injection engine in both official Audi Works entries and beat Bentley. This destroyed Piëch’s plan of reviving Bentley’s glory at the race. Piëch also wanted to unveil the new Audi engine at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but Paefgen’s competitive streak at Le Mans spoilt this plan too.
It is believed Paefgen will be replaced by Martin Winterkorn, current head of product development at VW. Volkswagen has already announced that the company will be reorganised into “sporty” and “classic” divisions.