Bernd Pischetsrieder

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Bernd Pischetsrieder
Bernd Pischetsrieder by Stuart Mentiply.jpg
Bernd Peter Pischetsrieder

(1948-02-15) 15 February 1948 (age 71)
Munich, Bavaria, Germany
OccupationChairman, Munich Re (since 2013)
Scania AB
(2002 - 2007),
Chairman & CEO, Volkswagen AG
(2002 - 2006),
Chairman & CEO, SEAT, S.A.
(2000 - 2002),
(1993 - 1999)
Known forBugatti Veyron

Bernd Peter Pischetsrieder (born 15 February 1948) is a German automobile engineer and manager.

Life and career[edit]

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. However, this operation has turned out to be much more successful than the Rolls Royce operation, and it is a matter of debate whether BMW would have been better off keeping Bentley rather than having to take a licence for the Rolls Royce name

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.[1] 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 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.

Since 2013 he is chairman of the reinsurance company Munich Re.[2] In April 2014, he was elected as one of the three new members of the supervisory board at Daimler AG, which role he will be performing until 2019.[3]

Family connection[edit]

Sir Alec Issigonis, the British car designer and engineer who created the Morris Minor and the Mini, was a first cousin once removed of Pischetsrieder which was regarded as the reason why BMW purchased the Rover Group so Pischetsrieder could get his hands on the Mini brand.[4]


  1. ^ Bernd Ostmann (Ed) (29 November 2000). "Ich bin die Stimme des Kunden im Unternehmen". Auto, Motor und Sport. Vol. Heft 25 2000. pp. 208–210.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Press release - Change on the Munich Re Supervisory Board
  3. ^
  4. ^ Bardsley, Gillian. Issigonis: The Official Biography. Icon Books. ISBN 1-84046-687-1.