Volkswagen of America will promote two longtime executives into sales and marketing roles and has parted ways with a former Honda sales executive.
Hein Schafer, 43, currently senior vice president of product marketing and strategy, will become senior vice president of sales operations for the German brand’s North American region. Schafer — a 2020 Automotive News Rising Star — is a native of South Africa who’s been with VW since 2006, including a stint in Brazil, where he worked from 2015 to 2018 alongside current VW of America CEO Pablo Di Si. In his current role, Schafer manages the brand’s product planning in the region.
He will succeed Ray Mikiciuk, a 30-year veteran of American Honda who joined VW in October 2020. He has left the company, VW said.
Rachael Zaluzec, 42, will be promoted to a newly created position of senior vice president of customer experience and brand marketing. Currently, Zaluzec, who has been with VW since 2008, is vice president of customer experience and digital strategy. Zaluzec will be responsible for the brand’s customer-facing teams, VW said.
The promotions are effective Feb. 1. Schafer and Zaluzec will report to Andrew Savvas, VW’s chief sales and marketing officer.
In a statement, Savvas said the internal promotions were intended to give the brand “the kind of long-term stability and know-how that will allow us to continue to grow the brand and achieve our ambitious future targets in this market.”