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Audi’s Rose gets VW HQ job

Kevin Rose, Audi’s UK director, is to start a new international job in Wolfsburg, Germany, next month helping the board to shape the future of the Volkswagen brand.

A move was expected, following speculation he was to work for the group in China.

Rose, who has been with Volkswagen Group for 26 years, will report to Dr Georg Flandorfer, Volkswagen brand board member for sales and marketing.

The company has not revealed Rose’s exact responsibility but he has written to his retail network saying he will be part of a new sales and marketing structure for the Volkswagen brand.

Volkswagen cars are sold in more than 150 countries.

While saying he is “very excited” by his promotion to global HQ, Rose admits regrets about leaving his current position.

“I am genuinely sad to be leaving a brand which I believe has realised only a fraction of its potential in the UK,” he says.

When he was put in charge of Audi in 1999, UK sales totalled 40,000. By 2004 the figure was close to 78,000 units, breaking records for three consecutive years.

Rose is highly respected and much liked by Audi dealers for his approachability and strong leadership of the brand. A farewell party is planned for July.

Kevin Walter, managing director at Audi retailer Hodgson Automotive, says: “Kevin will be sorely missed by UK dealers. He is very likeable and has seen Audi through a turbulent time – the network will expect more of the same from his successor.”

Another retailer adds: “This is an opportunity Kevin could not turn down but I think he wishes it had not been just yet.”

Rose, who will be 49 in July, will hand day-to-day control of Audi to Robin Woolcock, Volkswagen Group UK managing director, until his replacement is named.

The group tends to move senior executive between brands (Rose took over Audi from Dermot Kelly, now heading Mercedes-Benz UK, who had moved from Seat UK).

Kevin James, Seat UK director and former MD of Volkswagen Financial Services, is likely to be on the short list for Rose’s job.

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