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MUNICH — Audi CEO Markus Duesmann will also head the Volkswagen Group subsidiary’s research and development division, the company said Thursday.
Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler, 62, will step down as Audi’s current board member for technical development. During his 34 years with VW Group he has also worked at the VW, Bentley and Skoda brands.
Duesmann, a mechanical engineer who was BMW’s purchasing chief and became Audi CEO on April 1, will “realign the premium brand’s development division with a special focus on process quality,” Audi said in the release.
He is tasked with injecting new meaning into the brand’s advertising slogan Vorsprung Durch Technik (Advancement Through Technology).
Audi has had nearly a half dozen R&D chiefs in less than a decade. During that time Audi’s reputation as a technology pioneer suffered as its technology began to lag rivals.
New industry disrupters such as Tesla have overshadowed Audi and its German peers BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Audi’s role in VW Group’s diesel emissions-rigging scandal also damaged its reputation. Audi engineers were accused of creating so-called “defeat” devices used to cheat diesel emissions tests.