William Malcolm

Skoda Auto Shakes Up Board, Adds First Female Director

For the first time, Maren Gräfová, a woman, will sit on the board of directors of Škoda Auto, and Martin Jahn will also become a new member. Gräfová will now replace the only Czech on the board, Bohdan Wojnar, responsible for human resources. Martin Jahn returns to the carmaker’s board after 13 years, replacing Alain Favey, who was responsible for sales and marketing. The changes will take place on March 1.

Favey will soon be entrusted with new tasks in the Volkswagen Group, and Wojnar will continue to be president of the Automotive Industry Association. He decided to leave his position after ten years.

According to Chairman of the Board of Directors Thomas Schäfer, Wojnar has played an essential role in the carmaker’s progress over the last ten years. “This development is reflected, among other things, in the growth of the number of employees, from 26,000 at the beginning of its operation to almost 42,000 to date,” said Schäfer.

According to Schäfer, Maren Gräf is a recognized human resources expert with international experience. “Its task now will be to take this area to a new level. Our goal is to offer all Škoda users a long-term job, significantly strengthen and expand our expertise in e-mobility and software solutions while supporting the Škoda family’s diversity in all areas. At all levels, “Schäfer said.

Martin Jahn spent more than 12 years abroad. “Its main tasks will include further digitization of sales, development of new business models for Škoda Auto, development of our business through penetration into new markets, and further strengthening of our customer orientation,” said the Chairman of the Board of Directors.

As of last August 3, Thomas Schäfer, a former top manager of Volkswagen in South Africa, took over the company’s management. He replaced Bernhard Maier, who ended up at the company’s helm after less than five years. Johannes Strube, responsible for technical development, has been replaced by Johannes Neft on the Board of Directors of Škoda Auto as of January 1 this year. Last year, the board responsible for purchasing was also replaced, Karsten Schnake replaced Dieter Seemann.

Gräfová is a lawyer who began her career at the Volkswagen Group in 1999 at Volkswagen Immobilien, first in the legal department and then as an assistant to the CEO. In November 2018, she was appointed head of the human resources department of the VW Group’s top management. Gräf is also a member of the Supervisory Board of Wolfsburg AG.

From 2006 to 2008, Jahn served as a member of the Škoda Auto Board of Directors for human resources. He was then appointed CEO of Volkswagen Group NSC in Moscow, where he was responsible for sales of its brands. From 2010 to 2016, he served as CEO of Volkswagen Group Fleet International in Wolfsburg, Germany, and his primary responsibility was to manage Volkswagen’s global corporate sales. In 2016, he moved to Changchun, China, where he took over Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing and CEO of Volkswagen at FAW-VW.

Last year, Škoda Auto delivered over a million cars worldwide. It operates three production plants in the Czech Republic, produces in China, Russia, Slovakia, and India, primarily through group partnerships and Ukraine and Kazakhstan in cooperation with local partners. It is active in more than 100 markets. It employs almost 39,000 people, of which nearly 34,000 in the Czech Republic.