Heinz Hollerweger

Franciscus van MeelAlthough it may not have the brand recognition that Mercedes-AMG does or BMW's M division, Audi's Quattro GmbH department is responsible for its most exciting products – including the RS line of performance models and the R8 supercar. For the past year and a half, Quattro GmbH has been led by Franciscus van Meel, but soon it will get a new leader.

According to reports, van Meel (46, pictured right) is being reassigned to head up the Audi R&D center in Beijing. In his place, Audi is promoting Heinz Peter Hollwerweger (60, pictured above) to the post. The move is expected to be confirmed in advance of the Geneva Motor Show, at which point we can expect Audi to claim that it was part of a planned rotation. However sources suggest that van Meel's departure came at the behest of R&D boss Ulrich Hackenberg, who was apparently unhappy with how van Meel has been handling development of the next R8 and of the R8 E-Tron project.

Why Hackenberg would have van Meel reassigned to run one of his own R&D centers is beyond us, but Hollerweger is apparently expected to be able to get the job done faster and better. Whether he'll have any major changes in store for the Quattro division and its products is another matter, but we're looking forward to finding out.