VW brings back Barnes as U.S. sales chief

Mark Barnes, 54, will take over Feb. 1 for Frank Trivieri.

WASHINGTON -- Volkswagen of America said today it has rehired former COO and sales chief Mark Barnes as vice president of sales, bolstering VW's executive team as it plots the next step toward a goal of nearly doubling U.S. sales by 2018.

Barnes, 54, will take over Feb. 1 for Frank Trivieri, executive vice president of sales at Volkswagen of America, who officially leaves the company on Friday.

With the handoff, Volkswagen AG appears to have finished a major shake-up of its U.S. sales and marketing team that was capped in December when the German automaker installed Michael Horn to replace Volkswagen Group of America CEO Jonathan Browning.

All four of the VW brand's top U.S. sales and marketing executives have now been replaced in the past nine months.

The first hire was Maserati's former U.S. boss, Mark McNabb, who was hired in April to fill the COO post left vacant after Browning reassigned Barnes to vice president of customer experience in 2011. In November, VW lured Vinay Shahani from Nissan to oversee U.S. marketing after parting ways with marketing chief Kevin Mayer.

U.S. sales of VW brand vehicles dropped 7 percent in 2013, while the overall market grew 8 percent.

McNabb said in a statement today that Barnes' work experience, "particularly in sales and U.S. dealer relations, will help continue to build our partnerships as we work towards future growth in this market."

Barnes most recently worked at General Motors' office in Shanghai, where he spent 18 months as vice president of sales, marketing and aftersales for China and other international markets. He left that job in November.

Before that, Barnes was VW's vice president of customer experience -- a position he held for less than a year after Trivieri assumed responsibility for sales in 2011.

You can reach Gabe Nelson at gnelson@crain.com

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