Peter Mertens, Audi’s newly hired head of development, is stepping down from his role at the company for health reasons.
“We deeply regret that Peter Mertens is stepping down,” said VW CEO Herbert Diess. “We respect the reasons that led to his decision and wish him a full recovery.”
Mertens will be succeeded by Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler on November 1. He has been with the VW Group since 1986 and has in his time with the company been the Head of Vehicle Development at Skoda, a member of the board of management for technical development at Bentley, and more.
“Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler has gained a great deal of experience in his numerous responsible positions at the Group, which will help him to make a start quickly in his new position at Audi,” said Diess. “His task will be to continue the transformation of Technical Development and to further advance along the path towards electric mobility.”
Mertens’ sudden departure follows his missing the launch of the e-tron earlier this month. Rumors suggest that he missed it to have an operation, though no official detail of his illness or his reasons for missing the launch have been made public.
Before joining Audi, Mertens oversaw Volvo’s ascendence to its current status as a critically acclaimed design leader.
“We thank Peter Mertens for his outstanding commitment to our company. We expressly regret having to say farewell to such an innovative and inspiring executive,” says Peter Mosch, deputy chairman of Audis Supervisory Board. “The entire Audi team wishes him all the very best. His successor as the new Board of Management member, Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler, must now continue with the consistent focus of the structures and processes of our Technical Development to ensure an employee-friendly transformation, because the know-how of our team is our Vorsprung durch Technik. In this way, Audi will continue to be the technological spearhead of the Volkswagen Group and will continue to set standards for cutting-edge automotive technologies.”