Audi reshuffles top management and accelerates F1 engagement

Audi has confirmed the expected reorganization of the Board of Management: CEO Gernot Döllner is also taking over Technical Development at the German carmaker with immediate effect. Audi’s Formula 1 Team accelerates its racing commitment and takes over the F1 Sauber team.

Audi’s previous Board Member for Technical Development, Oliver Hoffmann, will now be responsible for the brand’s Formula 1 commitment, while Döllner will take over his duties on the Board of Management.

The Döllner strategy

Former VW manager Gernot Döllner has been CEO of Audi since 1 September 2023. After a standstill period, Döllner began implementing his strategy at Audi. This resulted in several changes to model planning, the organization, and management personnel, but there have been no changes to the Board of Management. That has now changed with Hoffmann’s departure to the sports department.

A few weeks ago, it was reported that Hoffmann was still respected in his own Technical Development department but not in other management parts. He was blamed, among other things, for the ‘years-long model gap’.

It is not uncommon for the CEO to be CDO at Audi: Döllner’s predecessor Markus Duesmann, the Dutchman who has a long Formula 1 past at BMW, also took over the management of Technical Development for several months before making Oliver Hoffmann CDO in 2021.

“I thank Oliver Hoffmann for his tireless dedication as a Member of the Board of Management for Technical Development,” says Döllner. “In recent years, Oliver has contributed significantly to the sharpening of the Audi product DNA that we are now bringing to market step by step with the launch of the Audi Q6 e-tron. In particular, the high-volume models based on the PPE and PPC, which are important for us, bear his signature.”

More efficiency, shorter development times

In Ingolstadt, Döllner will take over Hoffmann’s tasks and “continue the ongoing transformation of Technical Development. Besides shortening development times, the focus is mainly on more efficient structures and clear areas of responsibility to operationalize the prioritization of products and technologies as the Audi Agenda prescribes,” says the official press release. Döllner was not sure Hoffmann could bring this to a good end.

Hoffmann himself and the Chairman of the Audi Supervisory Board, Manfred Döss, only commented on the Formula 1 project in their statements. However, Jörg Schlagbauer, Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board and Chairman of the General Works Council at Audi, is clear: “Audi must remain technologically flexible, able to take action, and future-proof.”

“To this end, we need a clear course. ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ must be our aspiration. This has now been made management’s top priority. I am, therefore, looking forward to cooperating even more intensively with Gernot Döllner. All Audi employees thank Oliver Hoffmann for his work. We wish him and the four rings much success in the premier class of motorsport,” he continued.

Sauber take-over

The change in personnel is also seen as part of the brand’s preparations for entry into Formula 1. Parallel to Hoffmann’s transfer and dismissal from the Board of Management, the Supervisory Boards of Volkswagen AG and Audi AG have decided to take over the Sauber Group. The Swiss Formula 1 team will build a racing car powered by Audi’s Formula 1 engine starting in 2026.

As the person with overall responsibility and general representative for the project, Hoffmann will be responsible for all three pillars of the Formula 1 commitment: the investment in the traditional Swiss racing team Sauber, the development of the power unit by Audi Formula Racing GmbH at the Neuburg site, and Audi AG’s strategic management and activation of the commitment.

Oliver Hoffmann takes over responsibility for Audi’s Formula 1 commitment and becomes Chairman of the Sauber Group Board of Directors /Audi


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