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Skoda Auto appoints Thomas Schafer as new chairman

Tuhin Guha  | Updated: August 04, 2020, 10:08 AM IST

Skoda Auto has appointed Thomas Schäfer as the new chairman of the board. His appointment came into effect from August 3, replacing Bernhard Marr.

Schäfer has been with the Volkswagen Group since 2012. He was initially in charge of the group's international production, being responsible for xKD projects and negotiations on new production sites. From 2015, he served as chairman and MD of Volkswagen Group South Africa, responsible for the development of the VW brands in the sub-Saharan Africa region.

In this position, Schäfer has played a key role in significantly developing and strengthening the Volkswagen group's position in sub-Saharan Africa. New production sites have been built and new cooperation agreements entered into with importers. Mobility concepts for Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Ghana have also contributed to this growth. Schäfer has consistently promoted the expansion of the sales network, increased dealer profitability and led the Volkswagen, Audi and VW Commercial Vehicles brands to the current record market share of 23.5 per cent.

After qualifying as a mechanical engineer, Schäfer began his career in the automotive industry at Daimler AG in 1991. Until 2002, he held various positions in the production and quality management vertical in Germany, the USA and South Africa. Post that, until 2005,  he was a founding member of DaimlerChrysler Malaysia as a board member for technology, he expanded and restructured the company's sales, production, and supplier base in this capacity.

Schäfer was also responsible for vehicle deliveries, customer centres and the global xKD business in emerging markets for Daimler AG between 2005 and 2012. In addition to establishing new plants, he was also responsible for planning and strategy and international logistics for all foreign plants. In 2011, his main tasks included managing the Mercedes-Benz plant construction project in cooperation with BAIC in China.

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