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Bosch taps new CEO to steer electric course

AFP/Frankfurt
Filed on June 26, 2021
Bosch agreed to a settlement of nearly $330 million in the United States in 2017 to draw a line under “dieselgate” claims, but admitted no wrongdoing. — File photo

Volkmar Denner, 64, has been in the driving seat at the world’s largest auto parts maker since 2012. His contract was due to run until mid-2022


German car parts supplier Bosch on Thursday said CEO Volkmar Denner will step down at the end of year, leaving his successor to steer the firm through a massive transition towards electric mobility.

Denner, 64, has been in the driving seat at the world’s largest auto parts maker since 2012. His contract was due to run until mid-2022.

“The supervisory board owes Volkmar Denner a huge debt of thanks for the economically successful and technologically visionary way he has managed the company,” Franz Fehrenbach, chairman of the the supervisory board, said in a statement.

He will be replaced by Stefan Hartung, 55, who currently heads Bosch’s high-profile mobility solutions division. He joined the Stuttgart-based firm in 2004.

The shake-up comes at a time when the entire auto industry is investing heavily in the greener, smarter cars of the future and suppliers like Bosch are increasingly evolving into tech companies.

Denner, who has a doctorate in physics, has been credited with sharpening the firm’s focus on new technologies such as artificial intelligence, connected vehicles and hydrogen fuel cells.

But during his tenure, Bosch was also dragged into Volkswagen’s 2015 “dieselgate” emissions cheating scandal following revelations it supplied some of the software used in the cars to dupe pollution tests.

Bosch agreed to a settlement of nearly $330 million in the United States in 2017 to draw a line under “dieselgate” claims, but admitted no wrongdoing.

In Germany, it paid a 90-million-euro fine in 2019.

Denner also abandoned plans for Bosch to produce its own battery cells for electric vehicles, deciding it was too costly and leaving the market to be dominated by Asian firms.

“To run a broad-based technology company like Bosch nowadays, you need to bring a deep understanding of digital inter-connectedness, the internet of things and artificial intelligence,” Bosch supervisory board chairman Franz Fehrenbach recently told the Handelsblatt financial daily.

Bosch earlier this month opened Germany’s first semiconductor factory, hailed by Chancellor Angela Merkel as a boost to efforts to ease shortages and reduce reliance on non-European chipmakers.

The one-billion-euro factory is the single largest investment in Bosch’s 130-year history. — AFP





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