Volkswagen’s worst-kept secret of the past few months – that Porsche’s chief engineer Wolfgang Durheimer is to succeed Franz-Josef Paefgen early next year as boss of Bentley and Bugatti – has finally been officially confirmed.
Durheimer, 52, currently chief of product development and research at Porsche, will take over at Crewe and Molsheim in February, though Paefgen is expected to wlork on in an advisory role until his official retirement date in May, and may stay longer in a consultancy role, though he is expected to move back to Germany.
New Bentley-Bugatti boss Durheimer is credited with presiding over a period of unprecedented growth at Porsche, during which the Cayenne, Panamera and RS Spyder have been created. As well as his new responsibilities, he will also become director of motorsport for the whole VW Group.
Durheimer’s replacement at Porsche is Wolfgang Hatz, 51, previously VW’s head of engine and transmission development. In the announcement of his appointment, Matthias Muller, chairman of Porsche’s executive board, claimed Hatz “has all the credentials needed to strengthen the position of Weissach as a competence centre for sports car development".