Skoda Auto has appointed Thomas Schäfer as its new chairman after the Volkswagen Group brand posted a 72% reduction in operating profit for the first half of a coronavirus-impacted 2020.
Schäfer takes up his new role with immediate effect and succeeds Bernhard Maier, who is handing over the office to his successor after almost five years at the helm.
Earlier today (August 3) Skoda stated that its plan to launch 30 new models, derivatives and product upgrades between 2019 and 2022 were unaffected by coronavirus as it revealed the impact of the pandemic on its global sales performance.
Revenues for H1, 2020, amounted to €7.55bn, alongside and operating profit of €228m (H1 2019: €824m).
Skoda delivered 426,700 vehicles to customers between January and June, meanwhile – down 31.3% on H1 2019’s 620,900.
Alain Favey, Skoda Auto's borad member for sales and marketing, said: “Although our worldwide deliveries to customers decreased in the first six months of the year due to the exceptional starting position, the outlook is positive: in June we were able to make significant gains compared to the previous months."
Schäfer takes the helm at Soda following a career which began at Daimler AG in 1991.
A statement issued by Skoda today said that he had held various management positions in the areas of production and quality management in Germany, the USA and South Africa until 2002.
From 2002 to 2005, he was a founding member of DaimlerChrysler Malaysia as board member for Technology, where he expanded and restructured the company’s sales, production, and supplier base.
At Daimler AG in Germany, Schäfer was responsible for vehicle deliveries, customer centres and the global xKD business in emerging markets 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.
In May 2012, Schäfer moved to Volkswagen AG, where he initially headed the Group’s International Production and was responsible for xKD projects and negotiations on new production sites.
Since 2015, he has served as chairman and managing director of Volkswagen Group South Africa, responsible for the development of the Group brands in the sub-Saharan Africa region.
Skoda said: “Throughout his five-year tenure, he consistently promoted the expansion of the sales network, increased dealer profitability and led the Group brands Volkswagen, Audi and VW Commercial Vehicles to the current record market share of 23.5%.
“Under the leadership of Thomas Schäfer, the Volkswagen Group has significantly developed and strengthened its position in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Building new production sites, entering into new cooperation agreements with importers and developing mobility concepts for Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Ghana have also contributed to this.”