VW to name top marketing executives and restructure sales territories

Wolfsburg. Volkswagen will soon announce major personnel changes and introduce significant structural reforms in sales and marketing.

VW board member Bruno Adelt, who has been responsible for reorganizing the sales department since the departure of sales and marketing boss Robert Buechelhofer, informed VW's top executives of the imminent changes during a recent management conference in Ehra-Lessien, Germany.

Automobilwoche has learned that that VW CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder wants Lars-Henner Santelmann, 40, to succeed Volkswagen brand director Detlef Wittig, 61. Santelmann, sales boss of VW Group subsidiary Seat, will replace Wittig at the beginning of 2005 at the latest.

Fred Kappler will probably be the successor to Detlef Schmidt, who was responsible for sales and marketing at VW Group subsidiary Skoda until June 2003. Kappler, who currently is responsible for VW sales in Germany, will be replaced by Peter Maiwald, who is managing director at Seat Deutschland GmbH.

Daniel Coppens, who was replaced by Bernd Wiedemann as sales and marketing director at VW Commercial Vehicles at the end of August, is being considered as a successor to Johann Wohlfarter, boss at the VW-owned Italian import company Autogerma.

VW sales territories in Europe will also be restructured. The regions, which previously were split into northwest and southeast and led by Stephan Woellenstein and Zeno Kerschbaumer, will be divided into "European sales" (excluding Germany) and "international sales." Woellenstein and Kerschbaumer will take on new duties No decision has been made on who will be responsible for the sales new regions.

It appears that Volkswagen do Brasil president Paul Fleming also will be replaced soon. Berthold Krueger, with whom Fleming fell out, was reinstalled as sales boss at VW do Brasil after intervention from Peter Hartz, director for labor relations and the VW board member responsible for Latin America. Insiders believe that this is an indication that Fleming will soon be dismissed.

Pischetsrieder also reactivated Gerd-Georg Heuss -- who used to be managing director at Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH but recently was sent into retirement -- as troubleshooter for the Brazilian subsidiary, which is currently in a crisis.

Karl Hirtreiter, who is responsible for design and development of the Fox minicar at VW do Brasil, was appointed new "super product manager" for the small automobile platforms A0 and A00.

VW did not comment.

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