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VW boss Bernhard quits

Fri, 12 Jan 2007

By Tim Pollard

Motor Industry

12 January 2007 09:57

Volkswagen boss Wolfgang Bernhard has quit the company as part of a shake-up at Europe's biggest car maker. The news comes as little surprise after months of uncertainty and change at the top of VW.

Bernhard built a reputation as an abrasive operator in his short stint as CEO of the Wolfsburg company and had numerous confrontations with unions as he pushed through more modern working practices. But he was widely expected to quit after the man who hired him, Bernd Pischetsrieder, was replaced by Bernhard's opposite number at Audi, Martin Winterkorn. Dr Bernhard will leave on 31 January - exactly two years after joining the management board.

He is hotly tipped to return to his former employer, DaimlerChrysler in the US, where he built a reputation as a ruthless executive with an eye for cost-cutting. His VW contract is understood to include a two-year ban on working for a rival car maker, but Bernhard is likely to negotiate this as part of his exit package.

By Tim Pollard