Düsseldorf Women in senior management have always been a part of everyday life at VW Group. The executive boards of Audi, Porsche, Traton, commercial vehicles and the entire group are no longer purely masculine fields. However, one exception is Volkswagen’s core brand management.
That is due to change on July 1. As Volkswagen announced on Tuesday, Imelda Labbe will take over the sales and marketing division of the core brand. The 54-year-old succeeds Klaus Zellmer, who will also move to the Czech business group Skoda as the new CEO on July 1.
The fact that there is not a single woman on the board of directors of the core VW brand was recently considered one of Wolfsburg’s shortcomings. So it has already become clear in the past few weeks that male candidates will not have good prospects for the sales job this time around. On the other hand, Imelda Labbe was one of the early favorites. “She obviously has the most experience,” says one Volkswagen executive.
The trained business economist has made a name for herself at Volkswagen as an aftermarket parts expert. Currently, Labbé still manages the logistics of Volkswagen Genuine Parts with around 2,500 employees. Parts from Kassel are supplied by dealers of the brands VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat.
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The manager has been in the automotive industry for more than 35 years. From 1986 to 2013, she held management positions at Opel and the then parent company General Motors – including the position of head of quality at the Antwerp plant and head of sales for the German market. In 2013 she moved to the Volkswagen Group as a management spokeswoman for Skoda Germany. In the summer of 2016, she took over the global management of after-sales services.
Conflicts with Volkswagen dealerships are programmed
As head of sales in the future, she will have to dramatically digitize the sale of new and used cars. All car manufacturers – not just Volkswagen – want to use new online business models to increase sales. Thus, disputes are programmed with the current proxy of medium size.
“Your job will be to continually align the sales, marketing and service of the Volkswagen brand with the needs of our customers in times of digitalisation,” said Thomas Schaefer, future CEO of the Volkswagen Automotive brand. Car buyers increasingly wanted to buy cars online.
>> I read here: How Volkswagen is catching up with digitization
To date, new cars have been sold almost exclusively through independent dealers. A few days ago, Volkswagen began selling new cars to private customers online for the first time. Imelda Labbé will greatly increase these online sales in the coming years.
Electric cars are less likely to be repaired than traditional combustion models. In a few years, new driver assistance systems and autonomous driving will ensure that the number of accidents is reduced. This reduces the need for spare parts, so Volkswagen is looking for new sources of income. This also includes our online sales.
more: Volkswagen and BP want to build 8,000 charging stations.