VW Taps First American Chief in 25 Years to Spur Growth in U.S.

(Bloomberg) -- Scott Keogh, who has led Audi to almost nine years of monthly U.S. sales gains, will become the first American in 25 years to lead Volkswagen in his home country.

The 49-year-old native New Yorker takes over on Nov. 1 as chief executive officer of Volkswagen Group of America and as head of the VW brand for North America. The last American in such a role was John Kerr, who had a short tenure in 1993.

VW Taps First American Chief in 25 Years to Spur Growth in U.S.

Keogh succeeds Hinrich Woebcken, 58, who will remain as a senior executive strategic adviser to the region. Woebcken was charged with repairing VW’s brand and reviving sales after its 2015 emissions-test cheating scandal. He was well-liked by dealers, who credited him with giving them unprecedented say over regional operations, such as the decision to name the brand’s Tennessee-built, full-size sport utility vehicle the Atlas rather than the Teramont.

Audi of America will be led by Mark Del Rosso, who served as chief operating officer for the unit before running Bentley Motors -- another brand in VW’s portfolio -- in the Americas.

Volkswagen’s U.S. sales have risen this year at a time when major automakers are grappling with a slowdown amid rising interest rates and plunging demand for passenger cars. Volkswagen’s U.S. deliveries were up 5.5 percent through October, driven by booming sales of the Atlas and Tiguan SUVs.

Keogh will oversee all VW brand activities in the U.S., Mexico and Canada, including factories in Tennessee and Mexico. He’s also heading the U.S. operations of Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, and the credit arm of Volkswagen. He will report to global CEO Herbert Diess.

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