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It's all change at Bentley and Bugatti
Wolfgang Dürheimer retires, with ex-Lambo man Winkelmann replacing him at Bugatti
Bentley and Bugatti are to get new CEOs, as Wolfgang Dürheimer (above), current boss of both, is on course for retirement. He sees it as a good time to go, having moved Bentley’s centre of gravity with the big-selling Bentayga, and launched the new-generation Continental GT, while simultaneously defining and launching the Chiron.
Adrian Hallmark, who had a senior role at Bentley a decade ago, returns to Crewe as chief executive on 1 February. Hallmark was most recently strategy director at Jaguar Land Rover.
At Bugatti, the new boss will be Stefan Winkelmann, who did 11 years at the top of Lamborghini and over that time transformed the company. Last year he moved to become boss of Audi Sport.In all, four Bentley board members are reaching retirement age very close together, so Hallmark will have three other new high-level colleagues.
Bentley’s new head of engineering will be Dr Werner Tietz, replacing current incumbent Rolf Frech. Frech is the individual who truly led the engineering of Bentley’s new generation of vehicles.
New head of sales and marketing at Crewe is Chris Craft, who comes from the role of boss of Porsche UK. And joining to take responsibility for people, digitalisation and IT is Dr Astrid Fontaine.
In his previous time at Bentley, new CEO Adrian Hallmark was head of sales and marketing, and launched the first Continental GT. Afterwards he went to sales roles at VW and (inevitably briefly) Saab. Then he was recruited by Jaguar as Global Brand Director at the time of the F-Type launch. Like Craft after him, he came to the Bentley sales and marketing post after running Porsche GB. His first degree is in mechanical engineering, and he’s a keen cyclist.
New Bentley engineering head Tietz, like Dürheimer and Frech, is a former Porsche engineer. He was most recently responsible for body and trim engineering, playing a big role in the new Panamera and 911.
Dürheimer has been planning his retirement for some time, and is expected to spend a couple of months a year as an advisor to the VW Group’s motorsport activities. He’s especially passionate about Formula E, where Audi is committed deeper than ever.
He has had a remarkable career as an engineer and manager. VW Group Matthias Mueller listed some of his achievements in a goodbye tribute.
“I thank Wolfgang Dürheimer for his dedication to Bentley and the Group. He has had an outstanding career and has launched some of the most important cars the Group has ever created, including two generations of the Porsche 911, the Porsche Carrera GT, Porsche Panamera, Porsche Cayenne, Bugatti Chiron, the Bentley Bentayga as well as the all-new Bentley Continental GT. I am pleased that we will continue to benefit from his extensive motorsport experience.”
Dürheimer told TopGear.com he now wants to ride a motorbike from Alaska to Patagonia. He has also started learning the double bass and plans to enjoy his skiing – he’s a trained instructor. And between all that he wants to spend more time with his family and friends.