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Alex Smith to replace Paul Willis as Volkswagen Group UK boss

Alex Smith to replace Paul Willis as Volkswagen Group UK managing director

Volkswagen Group UK has appointed Nissan GB managing director Alex Smith to replace Paul Willis following his departure from the business in the New Year.

Smith returns to the Milton Keynes-based manufacturer group after two years at the helm of the Japanese brand’s UK operations

After spending his early career with Ford and Kia, Smith was initially recruited by Volkswagen Group UK in 2007 and held positions within Group Parts Operations and Retail Operations for Volkswagen Passenger Cars, before becoming director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles UK in November 2011.

On July, 2014 he was appointed as director of Volkswagen Passenger Cars UK, reporting to Paul Willis, but made the move to Nissan in 2016.

Willis announced in early November that he would be leaving the Volkswagen Group after taking up the offer of a new opportunity outside the UK which he described as to pursue a new opportunity he described as “off the scale”, which he was “unable to turn down”.

Speaking to AM at the time, Willis, who have been in the post for five years, said: “My new role is with a firm that is much more entrepreneurial than being an importer. That’s something I’ve always found interesting and I’ll be both a board member and responsible for the entire value chain.”

A statement issued by the Volkswagen Group today revealed that Willis will stay on into the first quarter of 2019 to ensure a smooth transition to his successor.

Commenting on his appointment, Smith said: “I am very pleased to be returning to Volkswagen Group UK, especially at such a challenging yet exciting time for both the company and the automotive industry in general.

“Thanks to huge levels of investment, particularly in the field of e-mobility, the Group is well positioned for a strong future.”

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