Mark Del Rosso won't need any introductions to his dealer network when he becomes president of Audi of America on Dec. 1. They already know who he is and what he can do.
That's because Del Rosso, 54, served as COO of Audi of America for nine years before he moved over to become CEO of Bentley Motors in June 2017. Del Rosso will replace Scott Keogh, 49, in the top Audi job after Keogh becomes CEO of Volkswagen Group of America on Nov. 1.
Del Rosso was hired at Audi of America in January 2008 by Johan de Nysschen, who was Audi of America's executive vice president at the time. At Audi, Del Rosso worked hand in glove with Keogh, who was Audi's chief marketing officer when Del Rosso arrived, but who was picked to succeed de Nysschen when the latter left in June 2012 to become head of Infiniti.
Del Rosso is a whip-smart industry veteran who cut his teeth with Toyota as a management trainee after he graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in accounting and marketing. After a few posts in Lexus field offices and headquarters in marketing, Del Rosso was promoted in 1998 to his most visible post at Toyota — leading the Genesis youth project, a marketing forerunner of what became that automaker's ill-fated Scion experiment.
Del Rosso was transferred within Toyota to become national manager of sales administration, which oversees field sales. After a short stint there, Del Rosso was sent on a rotation of several Lexus field regions.
Colleagues at Audi said Del Rosso has a well-established reputation as a thoughtful leader known for asking tough questions.
"There's no one, with the exception of Scott Keogh, who is as passionate about the Audi brand, Audi dealers and Audi customers as Mark Del Rosso," said David Rosenberg, chairman of the Audi National Dealer Council and CEO of Prime Motor Group in Westwood, Mass. "It was shrewd on Scott's part and Audi senior management to recognize that Mark could take over the position seamlessly."
Rosenberg said Audi dealers breathed a collective sigh of relief when they were told that Del Rosso would succeed Keogh.
"I think it's very reassuring to the dealer body," Rosenberg said. "We like [Del Rosso]. He's very communicative. He may not always agree, but he's always willing to listen. He has a strong relationship with retailers. He's strategic in his thinking and the way the business is moving."