Volkswagen US Head Steps Down

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.

We've just learned from a source that Len "True Brit" Hunt, Executive Vice President in charge of the Volkswagen brand in North America, just sent employees a fare-thee-well memo, amid sagging US sales. He's headed over to VW's Bentley division to head up worldwide sales and marketing and otherwise bring executive cars to the masses. Hunt, who formerly headed Audi of America, had held the VW position since 2004. He'll be making a one-to-one job switch with Adrian Hallmark of Bentley, who will take over for Hunt at VWUS. Come, come. No tears. Stiff upper lip, and all that. Click through for the memo.

September 9, 2005

My Dear Colleagues:

As you know, May of this year was very tough for the VW brand. We and our dealers found ourselves at a lowpoint, but with the support of VWAG and your hard work and determination we have started to turn the corner. I am very proud of these achievements and believe that together we have built a solid foundation on which to grow. We have a strategy, we have analyzed our core processes, and we reorganized accordingly. We have a new approach to our marketing and some excellent new product in the pipeline, but most importantly I truly believe our dealers are beginning to feel the warm wind on their backs and not the cold wind in their faces.

Given all these positive actions, I feel very comfortable about the future of the VW Brand in the U.S. and Canada. Having said this, I must inform you that I ve been offered a wonderful opportunity to join the Board of Bentley Motors in Crewe as its Member for Sales & Marketing Worldwide, and after much consideration, have decided to accept this opportunity. Believe me, the hardest part of the decision was leaving behind all the close colleagues I ve had the pleasure of working with these past six and a half years, and I mean that sincerely.

Those of you who know me well, also know that beside being a true Brit (although I must say you ve done a wonderful job of Americanizing me these past years), I am fueled by brand passion, and so I m very excited to work with this great British Brand. I am also looking forward to spending time with family and old friends something I ve not had much of a chance to do since relocating to America.

I feel so pleased to have had the opportunity to work with all of you, to have spent time with you, your spouses and your children, and most of all, to have shared many successes with you in both the VW and Audi brands. No one could have asked for a more warm, passionate, wonderful group of people than those I ve worked with here at Volkswagen of America, both here in Auburn Hills and in the field. These are relationships that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Thank you for making my time here worthwhile you have inspired me more than you know, and for that I will always be grateful.

Your new Executive Vice President for the VW Brand is an old friend of mine, Adrian Hallmark. I first knew Adrian from my Audi days in Great Britain and have watched him perform a marvelous role in recent years in the job I will be taking over at Bentley. In short, we re switching roles so I am afraid you are getting another Brit! The effective date of these changes has yet to be announced.

The good news for me (but maybe not for you) is that you ain t seen the back of me yet, as the U.S. and Canada are key Bentley markets; therefore, you will still see me in the halls of Auburn Hills occasionally, and that Andrew Stuart is going to call me sir! I hope to see you all from time to time, hear how you re doing and, most of all, to let me know how you ve managed to keep the passion, the discipline and your brands alive and kicking. That is what I expect from each and every one of you, and that is how I ll know you ve listened, that my words made a difference, and that I ve inspired you as much as you ve inspired me.

I will not say goodbye, but farewell for now. Thanks for the journey it s been a hell of a ride.

Best regards,

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