Audi plans to eliminate roughly 15 percent of its German workforce to eventually lift earnings by 6 billion euros ($6.6 billion) as Volkswagen Group’s largest profit maker pushes ahead with a restructuring plan to help adapt to the costly transition to electric cars. The luxury brand also named new finance, procurement and personnel chiefs in a shakeup of top management ahead of the arrival of its new CEO, Markus Duesmann.
By 2025, Audi plans to cut as many as 9,500 jobs in Germany and streamline operations at its two main factories in its home country. The positions will be reduced through attrition and voluntary measures including early retirement, Audi said in a statement Tuesday after reaching an agreement with employee representatives.
The approximately 50,000 remaining Audi employees in Germany will have job guarantees through 2029, and Audi will create 2,000 new jobs to strengthen its engineering muscle for electric cars and digital offerings.
“We are now tackling structural issues in order to prepare Audi for the challenges ahead,” Audi CEO Bram Schot said in the statement. “In times of upheaval, we are making Audi more agile and more efficient.”
With the leadership changes Audi "is realigning itself for the future," said Herbert Diess, who is the brand's chairman in addition to his role of CEO of parent Volkswagen Group, said in a news release.
Audi is struggling from the aftermath of its role in VW Group's emissions scandal, which led to the firing of long-term CEO Rupert Stader and several engineers.
The brand's growth has also stalled -- its global sales fell 1.2 percent to 1.51 million in the first 10 months of the year.
Duesmann, 50, a former engine development expert and head of purchasing at BMW, is tasked with reviving Audi's reputation as a technology leader, including injecting new meaning into the company's advertising slogan "Vorsprung Durch Technik," or "advancement through technology."
He will become Audi CEO on April 1. He will also have board-level responsibility for r&d at parent VW Group. Schot, Audi's current CEO, leaves at the end of March.
The three new additions to Audi's management board are:
Arno Antlitz, 49, who becomes Audi new finance chief on March 1. Antlitz moves to the job from Volkswagen brand where he has been head of controlling and accounting since 2010.
Audi's current finance chief, Alexander Seitz, 57, will take the same role at the VW brand.