Audi CEO Markus Duesmann replaced by VW’s Gernot Döllner

Audi AG has announced a changing of the guard at CEO, as Markus Duesmann is being relieved of his duties following a resolution passed by the automaker’s supervisory board today. Duesmann will be succeeded by Volkswagen Group’s vice president of Product and Group Strategy and general secretariat, Gernot Döllner. Here’s what we know.

Markus Duesmann is an industry veteran with fingerprints all over German automotive development during his three-decade tenure. He has been acting CEO and chairman of the board of management of Audi since 2020, as well as a member of the board of management at parent company Volkswagen Group.

Duesmann’s future with the company has been on shaky ground in recent months, as the German automaker has fallen behind other luxury competitors like his former employer, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Still, Duesmann has remained a strong voice in the room in favor of full-electrification, sticking to his guns while other VW Group brands like Porsche petitioned for extended combustion vehicle timelines through the use of e-fuels.

This is a business after all, however, and the Group’s board has decided to oust Duesmann for not delivering, a similar fate to Volkswagen CEO Herbert Deiss last summer.

Listen to the CEO
Audi’s incoming CEO Gernot Döllner / Credit: Audi AG

Duesmann out, Dollner in as Audi CEO this fall

Beginning September 1, 2023, Gernot Döllner will officially take the CEO reins from Markus Duesmann at Audi HQ. Audi’s supervisory board chairman Manfred Döss spoke to Duesmann’s efforts during his time as chief:

I would like to thank Markus Duesmann for all the important work he has done during his tenure at Audi. He has brought great foresight and vision to planning and driving forward key strategic decisions, including, first and foremost, the electrification strategy. Audi will be able to build further on these cornerstones in the future. At this point in time, Gernot Döllner is the right person to further strengthen the company’s product strategy and its position in key markets. Together with the entire Board of Management, he will add the next chapter to Audi’s successful strategy implementation.

Döllner holds a degree in mechanical engineering and has been with Volkswagen Group since 1993 when he joined as a Ph.D. candidate. His résumé includes several management roles at Porsche, including head of concept development of the Panamera, and has overseen VW Group’s product and group strategy since 2021. Döllner briefly spoke to his new role as Audi CEO:

I’m honored and excited to be taking on this new role. Audi is a fantastic company with a rich history. I look forward to shaping the company’s future together with the entire team at Audi.

Looking ahead, Volkswagen Group is clearly expecting big changes at Audi with Döllner at the helm. One would hope that if the successor is to continue anything the current CEO started, it’s the full dedication to electrification – quickly.

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