Thomas Schäfer has been named Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Volkswagen brand effective April 1, 2022. Schäfer will subsequently take over as Chairman of the Volkswagen brand with effect from July 1, 2022, and will also join the Group Board of Management as the member responsible for the ‘Volume’ Brand Group. Ralf Brandstätter will continue to serve as Volkswagen CEO until June 30, 2022, subsequently taking responsibility for the Group Board of Management’s China Division effective August 1, 2022. Brandstätter and Schäfer will prepare for the seamless handover of CEO responsibilities during the transition period from April to July.
Schäfer will initially continue to serve as Chairman of the ŠKODA Auto brand in addition to his function as COO. His successor as Chairman of the Board of Management of ŠKODA AUTO a. s. effective July 1, 2022 is Klaus Zellmer, currently member of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars Board of Management responsible for Sales, Marketing and After Sales. A decision on his successor will be announced at a later date.
Thomas Schäfer has extensive experience in the international automotive industry. The qualified mechanical engineer began his career at Daimler AG in Stuttgart in 1994, where he held various senior management positions.
Schäfer joined the Volkswagen Group in 2012, initially heading the Group’s International Production unit, where he held responsibility for CKD projects and negotiations on new production sites. Schäfer became Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa in 2015, and was responsible for Volkswagen’s business in South Africa and the development of the Group brands in the sub-Saharan Africa region. Schäfer was appointed Chairman of the Board of Management of ŠKODA AUTO a. s. in August 2020.