Volkswagen Group of America is shuffling the deck at the top for a new leader, but didn’t go too far to find him: former Audi of America chief Scott Keogh is replacing Hinrich Woebcken as President and CEO.
Keogh, 49, joined Audi in 2006 as Chief Marketing Officer and ascended to President in 2012. He’s played a major role in the near-luxury brand’s continuous sales growth for more than a decade. In fact, sales doubled between 2010 and 2015.
Woebcken took over VWofA in January 2016. He came on during a difficult time for the brand as it was in the early stages of dealing with a global diesel scandal, which was uncovered by U.S. federal environmental regulators.
He also dealt with the delicate issue of the UAW attempting to unionize the plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as well as declining sales. However, he pushed for new products, such as additional SUVs, such as the new Atlas, to help reverse the trend.
(Diesel crisis may have been just what VW needed, Woebcken said. Click Here for the story.)
And it worked. Woebcken, 58, will remain “on call” for the company as an adviser. Both men take on their new roles effective Nov. 1.
“Hinrich J. Woebcken has brought the Volkswagen brand back on track for success in the U.S. and the North American region. Considering the challenging conditions, these achievements deserve my dedicated recognition,” said Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG.
“After the successful comeback of the Volkswagen brand, Scott Keogh, who led Audi to excellence in the U.S., will build upon the momentum and implement the next stage in the growth strategy as we continue to develop Volkswagen into a more relevant player in North America.”
(Click Here for more about Audi’s move to go electric.)
Keogh will be succeeded Mark Del Rosso, president and CEO of Bentley Motors Inc., Americas, and former chief operating officer of Audi of America. Del Rosso, 54, is a graduate of the University of Southern California and an experienced marketing and sales executive with extensive expertise in the premium sector.
“Audi is well-positioned to capitalize on its rich product portfolio in spite of a tightening market,” Keogh said. “I can’t imagine a better person to take the wheel and continue to lead the Audi brand, its dealers and our employees than Mark.”
He started his career with Toyota Motor Sales in 1991, holding various senior corporate and regional positions throughout the U.S. for Lexus and Toyota. In 2008, he became executive vice president, COO of Audi of America and was appointed president and CEO of Bentley Motors Inc., Americas in 2017. He takes over on Dec. 1. No replacement for him at Bentley has been announced.
(To see more about Bentley’s new plug-in model, the Bentayga PHEV, Click Here.)
VW reported sales of 30,555 units delivered in September 2018, a decrease of 4.8% over September 2017. With 266,228 units year-to-date in 2018, sales have now risen 5.5% this year to date. Audi sales in September were 0.2% on deliveries of 19,350. For the year, the brand is up 4% on delivers of 167,420 units.