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Bernhard Being Hunted

By Ward’s Staff

WardsAuto.com, Jul 6 2004

Published reports indicate Volkswagen and General Motors are in a battle to add Wolfgang Bernhard to their talent roster.

Former Chrysler Group Chief Operating Officer Wolfgang Bernhard reportedly is being courted by two of the world’s leading auto makers to head key pieces of their global operations.

Bernhard was denied his ascension to the helm of the Mercedes-Benz brand in April amid tumultuous negotiations among members of DC’s management board over the future of the auto maker’s Asian strategy.

He reportedly led a team of executives who voted against DC Chairman Juergen Schrempp’s plans to invest more capital in ailing Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

Bernhard’s name has come up as a replacement for Chrysler Group CEO Dieter Zetsche, who was rumored recently to be a candidate to head Mercedes. But high-ranking insiders say such a scheme is not under consideration and that Bernhard is destined to leave DC.

Now published reports indicate Bernhard is being wooed by Volkswagen AG and General Motors Corp.

VW’s CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder reportedly is courting Bernhard to run the auto maker’s VW Brand Group, which encompasses the VW, Skoda, Bentley and Bugatti marques.

Meanwhile, GM reportedly is interested in the German auto executive to head its European production operations.



This guy was quite the hotshot at DCX. He was to take over Mercedes until he ruffled some feathers at Studengart. Sounds like he could be useful to GM if they could get him. But I would guess he'll choose to work for another German company.
 

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I think it would be highly ironic if he was picked by BMW - Mercedes' natural enemy. I could see him winding up at BMW. He lives for speed and luxury and BMW is both of those things. Shoot, since he used to run AMG, maybe he could get into BMW's M performance division.

I think he will land at VW, though. I don't think GM would be his kind of place and I think he would be bumping heads with a lot of people. The same goes for Ford. These two car companies could use a passionate car guy like him, but I'm not sure he would be worth it at times. I see BMW or VW as the best places for him.

In any instance, it will be DCX's loss, and I won't cry about that. If Wolfgang leaves, may he come back to haunt DCX (especially Mercedes). Just as long as he doesn't screw the company he works for.
 
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