Confirming an earlier rumor, Audi has announced that Stephan Winkelmann is stepping down from his positions as the president and CEO of Lamborghini in order to run Audi’s quattro division.
The 51-year-old Winkelmann has been Lamborghini’s top executive since January of 2005. Under his leadership, the Italian car maker has experienced unprecedented growth, and has managed to establish a secure foothold in a host of lucrative new markets around the globe, including China. Winkelmann is widely credited as the man who helped Lamborghini re-invent itself and become the respected supercar maker that it is today.
While his time at Lamborghini is coming to an end, Winkelmann’s career is far from over. He will move from Lamborghini’s historic headquarters in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy, to Neckarsulm, Germany, in order to run Audi’s quattro division, which is responsible for developing hot-rodded models like the RS 6 station wagon and the mid-engined R8. He will replace 62-year-old Heinz Hollerweger, who is retiring, and his expertise is expected to help Audi transform its Audi Sport division into a full-fledged sub-brand like Mercedes-AMG and BMW M.
Lamborghini has chosen Italian businessman Stefano Domenicali to replace Winkelmann. Domenicali was hired by Audi a little over a year ago in order to work on the company’s new mobility systems, but sources close to the car maker claim that he has been secretly spearheading the company’s long-rumored entry into Formula One. Prior to joining Audi, Domenicali worked for rival Ferrari from 1991 to 2014. During that time, he held numerous positions including head of Ferrari’s business planning division and team principal of the Scuderia Ferrari F1 team.
Winkemann will begin his tenure at quattro on March 15, 2016.
Updated 2/23/2016 by Ronan Glon: Added official information about Winkelmann’s replacement.