New boss Winterkorn scores another personnel coup
23 January 2007

Audi design boss Walter De'Silva is to be made head of parent company Volkswagen Group design by the end of the week.

An announcement to such effect is being prepared by the German car maker and will be made official within the next few days, according to high-ranking Volkswagen officials, who have told Autocar the 55-year-old Italian will retain responsibility for Audi design.

De Silva, whose credits include today’s entire Audi line-up bar the soon-to-be-renewed A4, is to replace Murat Gunak, who is set to leave the Volkswagen Group after a four-year spell as a result of the shake-up. Together with Volkswagen and Audi, De Silva will also oversee design activities at Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Seat and Skoda.

The appointment of de Silva marks yet another personnel coup for new Volkswagen Group chairman, Martin Winterkorn, who has managed to surround himself with a number of former Audi managers since he took the reins of Europe’s leading car maker from former boss Bernd Pischetsrieder on January 1.

Together with de Silva, Winterkorn has also brought in Ulrich Hackenberg from Audi to head up Volkswagen’s R&D activities. Also making the trip from Ingolstadt to Wolfsburg as head of production is Jochem Heizmann.

Murat Gunak’s future remains unclear. The talented Turkish-born designer, who set about transforming the Volkswagen line-up with cars such as the Scirocco and Tiguan, has previously worked for Mercedes-Benz and Peugeot.

Greg Kable

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