Thomas Schafer succeeds Bernhard Maier as Skoda boss

Skoda has confirmed a successor to former chairman Bernhard Maier, with Volkswagen Group regional boss Thomas Schäfer taking over the role with immediate effect.

Schäfer becomes chairman of the board at the Czech manufacturer, having held previous management positions within the wider Group including leading its international production and chairing its operations in South Africa.

The 50-year-old German began his industry career at Daimler in 1991, where he held a number of management positions in production and quality management in Germany, the US and South Africa.

In 2002, he became a board member for technology at DaimlerChrysler Malaysia, while his final role at the firm was leading vehicle deliveries, customer centres and the global xKD business between 2005 and 2012.

No statement has yet been issued by Skoda other than one confirming his appointment. He succeeds Maier, who left Skoda last month after five years at the helm overseeing key product launches including all of the firm’s current SUV range.

It was reported that Maier upset Group board members by expanding Skoda sales in key Volkswagen markets while undercutting the German brand on cost, thanks to lower production costs in the Czech Republic.

The new appointment is the latest in a string of management changes within the Group, which has recently included Ralf Brandstätter taking over as Volkswagen CEO from Herbert Diess.