After completing its ramp-up and hiring more than 3,000 employees, Volkswagen’s leadership is changing.

Some foreign service employees are leaving Chattanooga for new assignments, and a “major management reshuffle” will be effective July 1.

Don Jackson, president of manufacturing of Volkswagen Group of America, is leaving his position.


A Volkswagen spokesman said he didn’t have additional information on whether it was Jackson’s decision to leave or if he is moving on to another job.

Bill Visnic, senior analyst, said it is hard to know specific reasons for the management shake up, but it seems sudden.

“It’s difficult to speculate what the situation is that leads to this rather abrupt change in management at such a new assembly plant,” he said.

Leader of Volkswagen’s Audi brand Johan de Nysschen also recently left his position as Audi of America president.

AndVolkswagen AG CEO Dr. Martin Winterkorn discussed “extensive structural and management realignment” earlier this month as the company looks toward its 2018 goals.

In a prepared statement, Jackson said he is moving on now that the facility’s ramp-up is complete.

“The ramp-up of our plant is completed, and I know that the local team has the skill to improve our new plant to the next level,” he said. “I am proud to have helped create new jobs in North America and develop people. After the fourth ramp-up of a car plant, it is the right moment now to take a break and then pass on my experiences to regional business to help rebuild America’s manufacturing base.”

Jackson’s responsibilities will be taken over by Frank Fischer on an acting basis until leaders name a successor.

Volkswagen leaders announced Jackson’s appointment in September 2008. He had most recently worked as vice president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Texas.

“Don’s experience and advice was a crucial factor for the successful ramp-up of the plant and the development of a local leadership team,” Fischer said in a prepared statement. “We thank him for his support, will stay in touch and wish him the very best for his plans here in Chattanooga”

Among other management changes, Lothar Grensemann, general manager for the paint shop, will leave for the partner plant in Emden, Germany.

He will be succeeded by Dean Parker.

Fernando Ribiero, general manager for controlling, will leave for Mexico, and Tom Miller will take over that position.

On all levels, this summer more than 30 foreign service employees are taking new assignments worldwide, Volkswagen leaders said in a news release.