NEW YORK -- A key member of the team that re-launched Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in the United States, is retiring.
Bob Austin, 60, will leave his job as corporate communications manager for North America at the end of the year. Hell be replaced by Karen Vonder Meulen, 40, a 15-year veteran of BMW North America where she is currently head of public relations for marketing, sports and cultural events.
Austin is a well known in the world of European imports. Prior to joining Rolls-Royce, he worked at Volvo for 31 years. He was head of Volvos U.S. public relations from 1978-91. Austin ran Volvos advertising from 1991-2001. He left Ford when it relocated Volvo to California in 2001.
He joined Rolls-Royce in October 2002 when the company was called Project Rolls-Royce and part of a shell company called HIREUS, owned by BMW, which outwitted Volkswagen and bought the Rolls-Royce name. Rolls-Royce was not permitted to use its brand name until Jan. 1, 2003.