Former BMW board member Markus Duesmann set to become the new Audi CEO in 2020

With his current BMW contract coming to an end in September this year, Markus Duesmann is expected to fill in his new position as Audi’s CEO in 2020.

Source: BMW Blog

Markus Duesmann, 50, is currently still working at BMW as an engine and purchase chief. The executive is said, however, to step aside from his role at the company, taking up on a higher passion at Volkswagen’s premium brand Audi the upcoming year.

Separation from BMW wasn’t taken lightly by his superiors. Duesmann intended an early departure, but BMW made its opposition quite clear, and discussions in regards to the executive’s planned departure the following year are still being expected.

As stated in the German newspaper ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’ Duesmann is, however, set to start his new position as an Audi chief on April 1. Someone with knowledge of the matter was cited in the media, confirming that the BMW board member will in fact part ways with BMW.

The current Audi CEO, Rupert Stadler – VW board member as well – was forced to step down from his position until further notice. The decision was made after Stadler was arrested in June, being involved in the emissions investigation that is still being carried out.  Audi made sales executive Abraham Schot the interim replacement after Stadler’s detention, but VW started its search for  someone experienced to fill in Rupert Stadler’s senior leadership role during the period he is in custody.

Formerly in charge of the purchasing and supplier network at BMW, Markus Duesmann initially left Munich and his function there last summer. His departure was a surprising and unexpected one. Duesmann was apparently “wooed” by Ingolstadt, where the Audi center is located. His decision, however, was allegedly influenced by Herbert Diess. Diess was part of the BMW team as well, being in charge of the Head of Development. Today, Diess is a lead figure in the VW brand.

Despite his 2018 departure from Munich, Duesmann was unable to stay at Audi. BMW wasn’t willing to release the board member from the obligations stated in his contract. Automakers in Germany need to adhere to an industry standard blocking clause. This non-complete clause prevented him from immediately quitting his job at BMW to work for a direct competitor.

BMW didn’t hesitate to activate and enforce that clause, forcing Duesmann to temporarily return to the Bavarian auto company. Confirmations have been made showing Duesmann will be able to become the next CEO at Audi this spring, despite his exclusion clause expiring a few months after that date.

Duesmann will follow Bram Schot, who took on the position at the beginning of 2019.

Speculations exist in regards to a potential agreement between Audi and BMW, but no official statements or confirmations have been made on the subject.  2020 will probably bring to light new insights on the topic.

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