After all the speculation and rumors, Volkswagen announced today that Wolfgang Bernhard will be leaving his post as Chairman of the Volkswagen brand and vacating his seat on Volkswagen AG's Board of Management. A true professional to the end, Bernhard put in his two weeks and will be leaving on January 31st. The company has been no doubt preparing for his exit, as we've known for some time that recently appointed Chairman of Volkswagen AG, Martin Winterkorn, has been planning a reorginization of the company's management. We're sure he's got a successor for Bernhard already picked out. Nevertheless, Winterkorn will assume Bernhard's duties as VW's head honcho until his replacement is named.
Bernhard's shoes will be tough to fill. He joined Volkswagen in February of 2005 and has been running VW since May of that year. He was brought in to whip the brand into shape by increasing productivity, lowering costs and improving quality. Most would say he succeeded in his task, though is leaving before the job is really finished. Where will Wolfie go now? Can't say we know for sure, but DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche is probably blowing up Bernhard's pager right now.

Check out VW's official statement on the matter after the jump.

[Source: VW]

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*Audi 5000

PRESS RELEASE:

DR. WOLFGANG BERNHARD LEAVES VOLKSWAGEN AG BOARD OF MANAGEMENT

WOLFSBURG, Germany - Dr. rer. pol. Wolfgang Bernhard, Chairman of the Volkswagen brand group and member of Volkswagen AG's Board of Management, will leave the Company by mutual agreement as of January 31, 2007 as part of the reorganization of responsibilities within the Volkswagen Group.

Dr. Bernhard has been a member of Volkswagen AG's Board of Management since February 1, 2005; since May 2005, he has been responsible for the Volkswagen brand as Chairman of the brand group.

The Company would like to thank Dr. Bernhard for his work in the past years and wishes him all the best for his future career. Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, who will take over the management of the Volkswagen brand group in addition to his present duties, emphasized that Dr. Bernhard had furthered the process of restructuring of the Company and hence increased the productivity of the Volkswagen brand.


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