Volkswagen Group continues the reshuffling of its executives with a sudden move that sees VW brand sales and marketing boss Jürgen Stackmann replaced by Porsche Cars North America’s CEO, Klaus Zellmer.
The move, effective September 15, 2020, is officially due to the fact that Jürgen Stackmann “will leave the Volkswagen Group”. His successor, Klaus Zellmer, will assume the position of Board Member for Sales, Marketing and After Sales at the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand immediately.
The fact that there has been no advance notice has raised some eyebrows in German media. According to Automobilwoche, Stackmann has fallen out of favor with his superiors. He was blamed for the fact that the Golf temporarily had to give up market leadership in Europe to the Renault Clio because of the botched launch of the Golf Mk8. Top executives are also said to blame him for doing too little to improve sales of Golf and Passat models. Of course, none of that is mentioned in the official statement.
“Jürgen Stackmann has steered Sales through challenging times with great commitment and competence over the last five years. At the same time, he has prepared his division for the major transformation issues facing our industry. We are particularly grateful to him for these achievements“, said Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand.
As for Stackmann’s successor, VW brand’s CEO said: “Klaus Zellmer has more than 20 years’ experience in Sales and a deep understanding of the international automobile industry. Together with him, we will systematically continue to pursue the course set by ‘New Volkswagen’.’’ Klaus Zellmer has been with Porsche AG for 23 years, most notably as CEO of Porsche Germany from 2010 to 2015 and president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) from 2015 to 2020.
He will be succeeded at the helm of Porsche’s North America subsidiary by Kjell Gruner, currently Chief Marketing Officer and Global Vice President Marketing. Gruner will start his new role with PCNA in Atlanta on November 1, 2020, with day-to-day operations of Porsche Cars North America to be shared between its CFO, Thierry Kartochian and its COO, Joe Lawrence until then.