||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia. (January 2013)|
|Born||Bernd Peter Pischetsrieder
15 February 1948
Munich, Bavaria, Germany
|Occupation||Chairman, Scania AB
(2002 - 2007),
Chairman, Volkswagen AG
(2002 - 2006),
Chairman, SEAT, S.A.
(2000 - 2002),
(1993 - 1999)
|Known for||Bugatti Veyron|
Dr. Bernd Peter Pischetsrieder (born 15 February 1948) is a German automobile engineer and manager.
Life and career
He was born in Munich, Bavaria, and studied Mechanical Engineering at the Technical University of Munich from 1968 to 1972. He earned the degree of "Diplom-Ingenieur", and began his career at BMW in 1973 as a Production Planning Engineer. He was promoted to become chairman of the board of BMW from 1993 through 1999. He was also chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, the parent company of the Volkswagen Group, from 2002 to 2006, and chairman of Scania AB until 2007.
During his time as head of BMW, Pischetsrieder was known for solidifying the company's position as a leader in the luxury car market with a solid sporting and engineering reputation. His decision in 1994 to purchase Rover Group from British Aerospace was widely regarded as a failure on paper. Although many of the assets were sold at vast profit and the purchase brought the valuable Mini and Land Rover marques into BMW ownership, the Rover passenger car operation drained the company's coffers. Rover was sold off in 2000, with Ford taking on Land Rover, and the Mini brand remaining at BMW. A more lasting achievement was the assumption of the Rolls-Royce marque, a deal which left rival Volkswagen Group manager, Ferdinand Piëch, with only the Bentley marque, and the Crewe factory.
Late in 2000 Pischetsrieder joined Volkswagen Group, mandated initially to take responsibility for quality, as "the voice of the customer" across the group, along with specific responsibility for giving the group's SEAT operation a new focus. In fact on 1 July 2000 he was appointed chief executive officer at SEAT and stayed to this position up to 6 March 2002. On 16 April 2002, Pischetsrieder succeeded Piëch as chairman of Volkswagen AG. At Volkswagen, he directed Bugatti Automobiles SAS to reengineer the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, delaying an expected launch. He continued moving the Audi and Volkswagen marques upmarket to some controversy.
He is known to be an enthusiastic driver, and once wrote off a silver McLaren F1 exotic sports car. There were only 64 street legal versions of the McLaren manufactured.
In a surprise announcement on 7 November 2006, it was revealed that Pischetsrieder would be stepping down from the top job at Volkswagen AG on 31 December that year. He was to be replaced by Dr. Martin Winterkorn, who was head of the Audi division. During Pischetsrieder's time at the helm, the Volkswagen share price rose by 80%, and his dismissal was opposed by (among others) supervisory board member Christian Wulff, who held his position on the board as a result of his position as Minister-President of Lower Saxony: Lower Saxony is a major Volkswagen share holder. Pischetsrieder's dismissal appeared to result from differences with Ferdinand Piëch.