Brain drain continues: Audi names ex-Toyota manager as new COO

Following on the heels of Jim Press and Jim Farley, another American Toyota executive has jumped ship to join a competitor. This time it's former Regional Manager of Toyota's Portland region, Mark Del Rosso. Del Rosso has spent his entire career at Toyota since graduating from USC. He joins Audi of America as Chief Operating Officer, where he will be responsible for sales, distribution and market planning for VAG's premium brand. With so many high-ranking executives leaving Toyota's US operations, one has to wonder if this is a sign of trouble at Toyota or a case of people leaving a success story in search of new challenges. The Audi press release is after the jump.

[Sources: Audi, Automotive News - Sub. req'd]


AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Mark Del Rosso, an automotive sales executive and marketing specialist, will assume the duties of chief operating officer for Audi of America, Inc. beginning immediately, according to the company. The position has been vacant since the departure of Tom Del Franco in June 2007. Del Rosso will report to Audi Executive Vice President, Johan de Nysschen.

Del Rosso, 43, leaves Toyota where he was general manager of the company's Portland, Ore., region.

"Mark Del Rosso is the ideal candidate to lead Audi's field team," said de Nysschen. "Mark brings a wealth of knowledge in dealing directly with dealers and customers. And, he has the business savvy gained from more than 15 years of field and corporate experience."

Del Rosso, a graduate of the University of Southern California, joined Toyota in 1991 and was regularly promoted to various marketing and field positions in both the Toyota and Lexus divisions.

In his role at Audi, Del Rosso will direct sales operations, vehicle distribution, market strategy and planning, corporate sales, and Certified PreOwned (CPO) operations.

He currently resides in the Portland area with his family. Del Rosso will assume his duties in Auburn Hills pending the move of Audi's headquarters to Herndon, Va., later this year.

Audi of America, Inc., offers a line of luxury vehicles that include the Audi A3 sport compact; the sporty A4 and S4 sedans, Avant, and Cabriolet models; the high-performance RS 4 sport sedan and Cabriolet; the all-new S5 coupe with a 354-horsepower engine; the A6 sedan and Avant; the V10-powered high-performance S6 sedan; the Audi Q7 performance SUV; the TT Coupe and Roadster models; and the R8 mid-engine sports car. Audi's 270 dealers sold 93,506 vehicles in the United States during 2007.

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