Bernhard was born Wolfgang Ayerle in September 3, 1960 in Böhen, Germany. He grew up as one of nine children and later took his mother's maiden name. He earned a masters degree in electrical engineering and economics from Technical University of Darmstadt in 1986, and MBA from Columbia Business School in 1988, and a doctorate in economics from Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in 1990.
After obtaining his doctorate degree, Bernhard joined McKinsey & Company in 1990 as a management consultant. In this capacity, he was assigned to Mercedes-Benz. In 1992, he joined Mercedes-Benz AG. Bernhard became CEO of Mercedes-AMG in 1999. Following the merger of Daimler-Benz and Chrysler in 1998, Bernhard was appointed President and COO of the Chrysler division in 2000. He continued in the position until he was slated to become the head of the Mercedes-Benz group in May 2004, but was passed over for the job just a day before his official switch. Bernhard subsequently resigned. Bernhard then served as the CEO of the Volkswagen brand for Volkswagen AG from 2005 to 2007. He was ousted from this position in January 2007 by Ferdinand Piech. Bernhard then rejoined Daimler in April 2009.
- Board of Management - Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard | Daimler > Company > Corporate Governance > Bodies > Board of Management
- "Executive Profile-Wolfgang Bernhard". Businessweek. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
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