Audi's Tech Development Chief and Chairman of Supervisory Board, Ulrich Hackenberg, Steps Down

Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg 1 photo
Photo: VW Group
Audi's technical boss and Chairman of Supervisory Board has retired in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal, most likely prompted by pressure from VW Group shareholders.
The engineer had joined Audi in 1985, and over the years had a significant impact on the Technical Development divisions for the entire Volkswagen Group.

The new Head of Technical Development for Audi will be Dr. Stefan Knirsch, a proven automotive specialist. Dr. Knirsch is no stranger to the German company, having joined Audi in 1990, five years after Dr. Hackenberg. Along with the important technical role for the entire Volkswagen Group, Dr. Knirsch will also be a board member in charge of technical development at Audi AG.

On the management side, Hackenberg's former role of Chairman of Audi's Supervisory Board will be filled by Matthias Muller. The former CEO of the Porsche brand is also a member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG since March 1, 2015 and its Chairman since September 25, 2015. Furthermore, two vacant seats for members representing Audi AG shareholders will be filled by Julia Kuhn-Piech, of obvious fame, and Josef Ahorner.

Hackenberg's departure from the ranks of Volkswagen and Audi leadership positions was speculated since September. Back when the Volkswagen Group announced its internal investigation, Hackenberg stepped out of the public eye, an event that triggered and fueled suspicions regarding his alleged involvement in developing the now famous "defeat device" that became the cause and center of the Dieselgate scandal.

Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg was always seen as an ally of former Volkswagen Group CEO, Martin Winterkorn. Dr. Winterkorn left all his functions in the Volkswagen Group shortly after stepping down from his CEO position in the Wolfsburg company.

Instead of a revamped leadership of key positions in the Volkswagen Group, the German company still called upon tried and proven people for those particular posts. The decision seemed to be clear in Matthias Muller's statements all along: "We can and we will overcome this crisis because Volkswagen is a group with a strong foundation. And above all because we have the best automobile team anyone could wish for." Some think that this decision could damage Volkswagen Group's image in the public eye.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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