Completing the circle with Porsche.
Skoda has announced that its CEO, Bernhard Maier, will be leaving the company by the end of July.
The German has been in charge at Skoda since 2015 and guided the Czech brand through its most successful period in history.
Using the ability to leverage VW Group technology and engineering, while producing vehicles at cheaper Czech labour rates, Maier has turned Skoda into a strong profit anchor for VW. The German executive is now 60 and there has been no guidance about where he will be redeployed.
Maier is not a classically trained engineer, like many other German automotive industry executives. His background is as a motor mechanic, before studying sales and marketing. This gives Maier a unique blend of skills in the automotive realm: an understanding of both fundamental mechanics and theoretical marketing.
From 1988 to 2001 he was a strategic analyst and project leader at BMW, before moving to Porsche, where he remained until 2015.
With a deep understanding of Porsche’s strengths and weaknesses, industry speculation is that Maier could be groomed for a new position at the sportscar brand, probably as its boss.
During his previous tenure at Porsche, Maier was an executive board member for sales and marketing – which is a very powerful position at the low-volume brand.
Porsche is renowned for its limited-edition derivatives and ability to offer owners excellent residual values over time, both functions which Maier would have perfected as head of marketing. At a time of great disruption, the VW Group board could need him back at Porsche, to guide the brand into its electrified future.