Volkswagen has just announced that Walter de'Silva, 55, has been appointed Head of Volkswagen Group Design.
Since March 2002, de'Silva has been Head of Design at the now discontinued Audi brand group. There, in addition to supervising the Audi brand design, he was also in charge of Seat and Lamborghini.
With his new position, de'Silva will be responsible for design for all Volkswagen Group passenger car brands including Bentley, Bugatti and Skoda. The change of direction will be effective February 1st 2007, although we understand de'Silva to be active in this position as of this week.
Before joining the Volkswagen Group at Seat in 1999, Walter de'Silva was in charge of Alfa Romeo's Centro Stile since 1986. At Alfa, during the 90s, de'Silva led the renewal of the brand's design language and very effective repositioning.
His long career in the automotive world began at the Fiat Centro Stile in 1972, when he was just 21 years old. This experience was followed by nine years at I.DE.A Institute under the direction of Franco Mantegazza and Renzo Piano before being recruited by Alfa Romeo.
With this new global design leadership position for Volkswagen Group, Walter de'Silva replaces Murat Gunak, who is leaving the company abruptly "by mutual agreement" as stated by Volkswagen. Gunak joined Volkswagen in 2003 after working for Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot and Ford.
These changes occur after some major management shuffles at VW; among them the departure at the end of this month of Wolfgang Bernhard CEO of Volkswagen brand, and the appointment of Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn in November, who was previously chairman of Audi – where he would have worked closely with de'Silva.