Who will be the next permanent CEO of Audi? BMW may ultimately decide.
At the moment, Audi’s soon to be former CEO Rupert Stadler is still sitting in jail and doesn’t appear to be getting out any time soon. So it makes complete sense for his employer, VW Group, to seek his permanent replacement. Not long after Stadler was sent to prison for his alleged role in Dieselgate, Audi appointed Bram Schot as its temporary CEO. Schot previously served as Audi sales chief prior to his current appointment.
But now, according to Reuters, Schot wants the job permanently. The only problem is, Audi has already recruited soon to be former BMW executive Markus Duesmann for the role.
And therein lies the problem; Duesmann is contractually banned from working for a competitor for at least one year after his existing BMW contract expires. When does it expire? September 2019. While negotiations are supposedly taking place for Duesmann’s early release (not from jail) between the two automakers, Schot has gone on record to state he wants to stick around. "I would be available as Audi chief in the long run and would like that very much," Schot was quoted as saying in an interview with German business monthly Manager Magazin.
What’s more, Schot added that Audi’s supervisory board is giving him a free hand, so to speak, to make short, medium, and long-term decisions for the brand. "They don't give me the feeling that I am seen as an interim solution.” So, what happens now?
Well, there’s a decent enough chance BMW won’t allow one of its top executives to be poached (Duesmann currently serves as an engine development and purchasing expert for BMW). This is not a particularly unusual situation for the industry, but Audi quickly needs to figure out whether Duesmann is worth the hassle and whether Schot is the right man for the job if need be.