Former Lambo CEO will take the reigns of Audi’s performance division

Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann has officially been named the new chief executive of Audi’s Quattro GmbH. Former Scuderia Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali will take his place as the new CEO of the Italian supercar brand.

While there is a bit of shock surrounding this news, rumors of this management shakeup have been floating around since December 2015. Winkelmann, who has been with Lamborghini since 2005 and is largely credited for the company’s massive growth over the past decade, will take the reigns from incumbent Quattro boss Heinz Hollerweger, who announced his retirement from his post after a stellar career with Audi spanning 40 years.

A big part of Winkelmann’s new responsibilities as Quattro GmbH CEO is to see to it that Audi’s performance division will become more competitive against its chief rivals, namely BMW’s M Division and Mercedes-Benz’s counterpart, AMG. Now that he’s at the helm of Quattro, he’ll be in charge of development of Audi’s R and RS production models, as well as the Audi Exclusive customization service, and the Audi Sport customer racing program.

As successful as he has been at Lamborghini, Winkelmann will still have enormous shoes to fill at Quattro, largely because of the work put in by his predecessor. Hollerweger only assumed the role of Quattro CEO in 2014, but in that short time, he is credited for the subsidiary’s sharp sales increase in 2015. Under his watch, Quattro’s sales figures in 2015 amounted to over 17,000 sold units, an increase of 13 percent compared to its total the year before. Hollerweger was also instrumental in the development of R8 e-tron to go with his contributions in the expansion and diversification of Audi Sport.

For his part, Winkelmann is expected to lead the division to new and more successful heights. It’s a role that he’s had experience with after spending the past 11 years doing the same thing for Lamborghini. As far as finding a suitable replacement for Hollerweger goes, nabbing Stephan Winkelmann from Lambo is a great hire for Quattro GmbH.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

The rumors pertaining to this management shuffle was first addressed by my colleague Ciprian back in December 2015. At that time, I remembered thinking how ironic it would be for Stefano Domenicali to take the reins of Lamborghini after being so visible in his role as the team principal of Ferrari’s Formula One team. What I didn’t think about as much was Winkelmann’s move to Quattro GmbH.

On the one hand, the announcement still caught me by surprise, but after spending some time thinking about what Winkelmann can do with Quattro, the more convinced I was that this was a great move by Volskwagen Group. I’ve been a fan of Winkelmann for years after witnessing what he was able to accomplish with Lamborghini. It may seem ages ago now, but 11 years ago was just 2005. At that time, Lamborghini was already a big deal, although not as big as it is now.

Winkelmann deserves a lot of the credit for that. Not only was he the driving force in recognizing the need to make substantial investments in the company, but he used the resources he received to steer the company towards becoming one of the world’s most recognizable supercar brands. During his time as Lambo CEO, he helped the company become a pioneer in automotive lightweight construction and carbon fiber technologies.

He also pushed for the expansion of the company’s sales organization, resulting in the tripling of Lamborghini dealerships all over the world. Most of all, he managed to make Lamborghini one of the most sought-after supercar brands in the business. The proof is in the pudding as the company achieved a banner sales year when it sold a record 3,245 units in 2015.

It’s safe to say that Lamborghini is in a far better place today than it was back in 2005. Sales are pushing for record figures and the company has even expanded its lineup to include a high-performance SUV that we refer to as the Urus. It’s the first time that Lamborghini will have three series production models at the same time. Stephan Winkelmann deserves the lion’s share of credit for making that happen.

I know I said that he’s got some big shoes to fill taking over Heinz Hollerweger’s job as CEO of Quattro GmbH. But let’s not forget that Stefano Domenicali has just as difficult a job succeeding Winkelmann in Lamborghini.

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Press Release

As of March 15, 2016, Stephan Winkelmann (51) will be the new CEO of quattro GmbH, a 100 percent subsidiary of AUDI AG, which produces and distributes the high performance R and RS models. Winkelmann was President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. since January 1, 2005. Heinz Hollerweger (62), the current Head of quattro GmbH, is to retire after almost 40 years of successful work for Audi.

“With his experience from more than eleven years in charge of Lamborghini, Stephan Winkelmann will be a key contributor to the further growth of quattro GmbH,” says Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG. quattro GmbH includes the Audi Sport brand with customer motorsport, the development and distribution of the R and RS models, the accessories of the Audi Sport collection and the car‑customizing services of Audi exclusive. In the future, the Audi Sport brand is to be positioned more clearly.

As CEO of Lamborghini, Winkelmann was responsible for substantial investment in the future of the company from 2005 onwards. He developed Lamborghini into one of the world’s leading manufacturers of super sports cars. In 2015, the brand with the raging bull achieved a new record with deliveries of 3,245 units. Lamborghini is also a pioneer in the field of automotive lightweight construction and in the development of innovative carbon‑fiber technologies.

As of 2018, Lamborghini will produce a third model series for the first time, which will be made alongside the Huracán and Aventador models at its site in Sant‘Agata Bolognese: a highly sporty SUV. Winkelmann also pushed forward with the expansion of Lamborghini’s sales organization. Under his leadership, the number of Lamborghini dealerships has tripled in the last decade. This year, the brand with the raging bull celebrates the 100th birthday of the company’s founder, Ferruccio Lamborghini.

In May 2014, Winkelmann was presented by President of Italy Giorgio Napolitano with the Grand Cross, the country’s highest order of merit, for his achievements as CEO of one of the most important Italian companies. Before Winkelmann became CEO of Lamborghini in 2005, he was the Board of Management Chairman of Fiat Auto Austria, Switzerland and Germany.

Stephan Winkelmann succeeds to Heinz Hollerweger (62), who will be retiring. “Heinz Hollerweger has been one of the catalysts for Audi’s path into electric mobility,” stated Stefan Knirsch, Board of Management Member for Technical Development at AUDI AG. “He also contributed decisively to the success and expansion of quattro GmbH.” The Audi subsidiary’s sales increased in 2015 by 13 percent to more than 17,000 units.

Hollerweger also achieved a lot with the development of Audi Sport, which includes the brand’s sporting activities such as customer motorsport under the label of Audi Sport customer racing, the R and RS models, and the accessories of the Audi Sport collection.

Heinz Hollerweger was born in Austria and started his career at Audi in Ingolstadt in the area of acoustics in 1977. Twelve years later, he moved to the Audi site in Neckarsulm as head of acoustics, and returned to Ingolstadt three years afterwards as head of vehicle inspections. From 1997 until 2005, he was responsible for the area of vehicle physics. After that, he was in charge of overall vehicle development. In that position, he was responsible for numerous show cars that later went into series production, such as the Audi Q5 custom concept, predecessor of the successful Audi SQ5.

Furthermore, Hollerweger coordinated the entire test activities of the Technical Development division. During his time as head of overall vehicle development, more than 70 models were developed to series maturity.

Hollerweger has been one of the catalysts of electric mobility. With the R8 e-tron, he and his team designed a sensational electric super sports car for the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2011: a powerful sports car with electric drive, the first test vehicle of its kind. It was later developed to series maturity at quattro GmbH.

In April 2014, Hollerweger became Head of quattro GmbH, where his responsibilities included the expansion of the RS portfolio and the development of the new Audi R8. In addition to the “Golden Steering Wheel 2015” in the sports car category and the “Auto Trophy 2015,” the Audi R8 also received numerous awards for its connectivity and is regarded as the benchmark for its segment in this respect. quattro GmbH was also highly successful with the R8 LMS in 2015, winning all of the renowned GT3 races worldwide.

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