Bernd Pischetsrieder

Last updated

Bernd Pischetsrieder
Bernd Pischetsrieder by Stuart Mentiply.jpg
Pischetsrieder in 2010
Bernd Peter Pischetsrieder

(1948-02-15) 15 February 1948 (age 73)
Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Occupation Chairman, Munich Re (since 2013)
Scania AB
(2002 - 2007),
Chairman & CEO, Volkswagen AG
(2002 - 2006),
Chairman & CEO, SEAT, S.A.
(2000 - 2002),
(1993 - 1999)
Known for Bugatti Veyron

Bernd Peter Pischetsrieder (born 15 February 1948) is a German automobile engineer and manager.


Early life and education

Pischetsrieder was born in Munich, Bavaria, and studied Mechanical Engineering at the Technical University of Munich from 1968 to 1972. He earned the degree of "Diplom-Ingenieur".



Pischetsrieder began his career at BMW in 1973 as a Production Planning Engineer. He was promoted to become chairman of the board of BMW from 1993 through 1999.

During his time as head of BMW, Pischetsrieder was known for solidifying the company's position as a leader in the luxury car market with a solid sporting and engineering reputation. His decision in 1994 to purchase Rover Group from British Aerospace was widely regarded as a failure on paper. Although many of the assets were sold at vast profit and the purchase brought the valuable Mini and Land Rover marques into BMW ownership, the Rover passenger car operation drained the company's coffers. Rover was sold off in 2000, with Ford taking on Land Rover, and the Mini brand remaining at BMW. A more lasting achievement was the assumption of the Rolls-Royce marque, a deal which left rival Volkswagen Group manager, Ferdinand Piëch, with only the Bentley marque, and the Crewe factory. However, this operation has turned out to be much more successful than the Rolls Royce operation, and it is a matter of debate whether BMW would have been better off keeping Bentley rather than having to take a licence for the Rolls Royce name

Volkswagen Group

Late in 2000 Pischetsrieder joined Volkswagen Group, mandated initially to take responsibility for quality, as "the voice of the customer" across the group, along with specific responsibility for giving the group's SEAT operation a new focus. [1] On 1 July 2000 he was appointed chief executive officer at SEAT and stayed to this position up to 6 March 2002. On 16 April 2002, Pischetsrieder succeeded Piëch as chairman of Volkswagen AG. At Volkswagen, he directed Bugatti Automobiles SAS to reengineer the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, delaying an expected launch. He continued moving the Audi and Volkswagen marques upmarket to some controversy.

During Pischetsrieder's time at the helm, the Volkswagen share price rose by 80 percent. By 2005, the company regained its position as western Europe's biggest car brand and passed Renault for the first time since 2001 in the region and recorded record global sales. [2] In May 2006, Volkswagen announced that it would extend Pischetsrieder's contract for five years, despite and an earlier expression of no confidence by the company's chairman Ferdinand Piëch. [3] In a surprise announcement on 7 November 2006, however, it was revealed that Pischetsrieder would be stepping down from the top job at Volkswagen AG on 31 December that year. He was to be replaced by Martin Winterkorn, who was head of the Audi division. At the time, the dismissal was opposed by (among others) supervisory board member Christian Wulff.

Other activities

Corporate boards

Non-profit organizations


In 2008, Pischetsrieder was one of several former Volkswagen managers who testified before court in a corruption case at the company involving charges of bribery, illicit sex and company-paid shopping sprees. At the time he said that he had first learned of the corrupt practices in June 2005 and subsequently dismissed the employees involved. [14]

Personal life

Pischetsrieder is known to be an enthusiastic driver, and once wrote off a silver McLaren F1 exotic sports car; there were only 64 street legal versions of the McLaren manufactured. Sir Alec Issigonis, the British car designer and engineer who created the Morris Minor and the Mini, was a first cousin once removed of Pischetsrieder which was regarded as the reason why BMW purchased the Rover Group so Pischetsrieder could get his hands on the Mini brand. [15]

Related Research Articles

Volkswagen Group German automotive manufacturing conglomerate

Volkswagen AG, known internationally as the Volkswagen Group, is a German multinational automotive manufacturing corporation headquartered in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, Germany and indirectly majority owned by the Porsche and Piëch family. It designs, manufactures and distributes passenger and commercial vehicles, motorcycles, engines, and turbomachinery and offers related services including financing, leasing and fleet management. In 2016, it was the world's largest automaker by sales, overtaking Toyota and keeping this title in 2017, 2018 and 2019, selling 10.9 million vehicles. It has maintained the largest market share in Europe for over two decades. It ranked seventh in the 2018 Fortune Global 500 list of the world's largest companies. In 2021, Volkswagen is the first largest German automaker and the fourth-largest worldwide by production.

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association is the main lobbying and standards group of the automobile industry in the European Union. As of February 1991 it is the successor of the CCMC manufacturers committee which was founded in October 1972.

Kurt Biedenkopf German politician

Kurt Hans Biedenkopf is a German politician who served as the 1st Minister President of the Free State of Saxony from 1990 until 2002, as such also serving as the 54th President of the Bundesrat in 1999/2000.

Ferdinand Piëch Austrian industrialist (1937–2019), head of Volkswagen

Ferdinand Karl Piëch was an Austrian business magnate, engineer and executive who was the chairman of the executive board (Vorstandsvorsitzender) of Volkswagen Group in 1993–2002 and the chairman of the supervisory board (Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender) of Volkswagen Group in 2002–2015.

Bugatti Automobiles French high-performance luxury automobiles manufacturer

Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. is a French high-performance luxury automobiles manufacturer and a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, with its head office and assembly plant in Molsheim, Alsace, France. Volkswagen purchased the Bugatti trademark in June 1998 and incorporated Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. in 1999.

Mini (marque) British automotive marque

Mini is a British automotive marque founded in 1969, owned by German automotive company BMW since 2000, and used by them for a range of small cars. The word Mini has been used in car model names since 1959, and in 1969 it became a marque in its own right when the name "Mini" replaced the separate "Austin Mini" and "Morris Mini" car model names. BMW acquired the marque in 1994 when it bought Rover Group, which owned Mini, among other brands.

Martin Winterkorn German former business executive (born 1947)

Martin Winterkorn is a German former business executive who was chairman of the board of management of Volkswagen AG, the parent company of the Volkswagen Group, chairman of the supervisory board of Audi, and chairman of the board of management of Porsche Automobil Holding SE.

Petra Roth German politician

Petra Roth is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). She was the mayor of Frankfurt am Main from 1995 to 2012. In addition she twice served as president of the Deutscher Städtetag, resuming her previous post there in 2009. The group is the head organization and lobby group for all German cities vis-à-vis the Cabinet of Germany, the German Bundestag, the Bundesrat of Germany, the European Union (EU) and many organizations.

Wolfgang Reitzle German business executive

Wolfgang Reitzle is a German business executive.

Porsche Automobil Holding SE, usually shortened to Porsche SE, is a German holding company with investments in the automotive industry. Porsche SE is headquartered in Zuffenhausen, a city district of Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg and is majority owned by the Austrian-German Porsche-Piëch family. The company was founded in Stuttgart as Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche GmbH in 1931 by Ferdinand Porsche (1875–1951) and his son-in-law Anton Piëch (1894–1952).

Heinrich Hiesinger is a German engineer and manager who served as the CEO of thyssenkrupp from 2011 until 2018.

Dr.-Ing. E.h. Eberhard von Kuenheim is a German industrial manager. He was Chairman of the executive board of the BMW Group, between 1970 and 1993.

Automotive industry in Germany Overview of the automotive industry in Germany

The automotive industry in Germany is one of the largest employers in the world, with a labor force of over 857,336 (2016) working in the industry.

Maria Böhmer German politician

Maria Böhmer is a German politician of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Under the leadership of successive ministers Frank-Walter Steinmeier (2013-2017) and Sigmar Gabriel (2017), she served as Minister of State in the Federal Foreign Office, primarily responsible for cultural relations and education policy.

Joachim Milberg German engineer and manager (born 1943)

Joachim Milberg is a German engineer and manager who served as CEO of Bayerischen Motorenwerke AG (BMW). He was Chairman of the Supervisory Board of BMW until July 2015.

Ian Stuart Robertson CMG is an English businessman and an automotive executive on the Board of Management of BMW Group responsible for Sales and Brand BMW and Aftersales BMW Group. He has been a member of the board since 2008.

Thomas Mirow is a German politician of the Social Democratic Party who served as president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development from 2008 to 2012.

Hans Dieter Pötsch Austrian businessman

Hans Dieter Pötsch is an Austrian businessman, the chairman of the executive board of Porsche SE, and chairman of the supervisory board of Volkswagen since 2015, when he succeeded Ferdinand Piëch.

Countess Carola von Schmettow is a German businesswoman and the chief executive officer of HSBC Trinkaus.

Hiltrud Dorothea Werner is a German business executive. She is the lone woman on Volkswagen AG's Board of Management, serving as the head of integrity and legal affairs. As one of three women from East Germany to serve on the board of a company from Germany's DAX stock index, she is also a public advocate for equal pay and equal opportunity for women.


  1. Bernd Ostmann (Ed) (29 November 2000). "Ich bin die Stimme des Kunden im Unternehmen". Auto, Motor und Sport . Vol. Heft 25 2000. pp. 208–210.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. James Mackintosh (January 16, 2006), Volkswagen regains the lead in Europe Financial Times .
  3. Mark Landler (May 3, 2006), Embattled VW Chief Gets 5-Year Contract Extension  The New York Times .
  4. Kuratorium der Krupp-Stiftung beruft Bernd Pischetsrieder Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation, press release of December 5, 2018.
  5. Ulf Meinke (December 5, 2018), Krupp-Stiftung holt ehemaligen VW-Chef Pischetsrieder Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung .
  6. Christoph Steitz (December 5, 2018), Thyssenkrupp's top shareholder appoints ex-Volkswagen chief Pischetsrieder  Reuters .
  7. "Daimler names Bernd Pischetsrieder to supervisory board". Autoblog.
  8. Board of Directors Tetra Laval
  9. Maria Sheahan (December 12, 2012), Munich Re names VW's ex-CEO Pischetsrieder as chairman Reuters .
  10. "Press release - Change on the Munich Re Supervisory Board". Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  11. Board of Trustees Hilfsverein Nymphenburg.
  12. Supervisory Board Wittelsbacher Ausgleichsfonds (WAF).
  13. Wechsel im Kuratorium der Hertie-Stiftung Hertie Foundation, press release of November 22, 2016.
  14. Mark Landler (January 16, 2008), Volkswagen Corruption Trial Includes Seamy Testimony The New York Times.
  15. Bardsley, Gillian (2005). Issigonis: The Official Biography. Icon Books. ISBN   1-84046-687-1.