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Duerheimer back in top job at Bentley

In charge: Wolfgang Duerheimer will oversee the launch of Bentley’s still-to-be-named SUV due in 2017, and the plug-in hybrid technology that will debut on the super-luxury off-roader.

VW names Duerheimer as incoming Bentley boss as Schreiber takes on mystery new role

Bentley logo17 Apr 2014

By TERRY MARTIN

SENIOR Volkswagen Group executive Wolfgang Duerheimer will return to the position of Bentley Motors chief executive from June 1, having spent the past 12 months responsible for motorsport after a brief stint as head of technical development at Audi.

Responsible for both the VW-owned Bentley and Bugatti brands, Mr Duerheimer replaces Wolfgang Schreiber, who will take up a still-to-be-specified “leading position” within the Volkswagen Group.

Mr Duerheimer was previously in charge of the British-based Bentley and French-based Bugatti brands from early in 2011 to mid-2012, having taken the reins from retiring chief Franz-Josef Paefgen until he was moved to the key R&D role at VW’s fast-growing and highly profitable Audi brand.

He lasted less than 12 months in this position at Audi, however, with overseas reports indicating he stepped down from the post after concerns were raised from within the group that the luxury brand was losing momentum.

As GoAuto reported at the time, German news outlet Der Spiegel said Mr Duerheimer was forced to leave after pushing for cost savings and causing friction among Audi’s development team by threatening to withdraw projects such as work on high-performance engines.

Ulrich Hackenberg subsequently transferred to Audi from head of development for the VW brand, leaving Volkswagen AG chairman Martin Winterkorn to find another role for Mr Duerheimer, which was as the group’s motorsport representative.

This was clearly only a temporary position for the experienced global automotive executive, who is a former board member in charge of R&D at Porsche – responsible for a host of key models from 2001 to 2011 – and began his career with BMW in 1986, holding various senior management positions over a 12-year period.

Back at Bentley, Mr Duerheimer will oversee the launch of the still-to-be-named SUV due for release in 2017, and the plug-in hybrid technology that will debut on the super-luxury off-roader and eventually spread across the range.

The new powertrain will be showcased in the Mulsanne flagship at this weekend’s Beijing motor show.

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