Volvo chief defects to VW

Volvo, the Ford-owned car manufacturer, has parted company with Malcolm Wade, its sales and marketing director in the UK.

Wade has this week joined the Volkswagen-owned manufacturer Rolls-Royce as managing director of UK operations.

Industry observers believe Wade may have left Volvo following the appointment of Dieter Laxy as the company’s head of global marketing two weeks ago. Laxy was former chief marketer for BMW in the UK, a post he vacated after just six weeks.

At Ford, Wade reported to Dr Wolfgang Reitzle, who was brought in by the car company to head its new Premier Automotive Group, which links its luxury brands Jaguar, Volvo, Aston Martin and Lincoln.

Wade had full marketing responsibility for Volvo in the UK, after taking over from Gerry Keaney as sales and marketing director in October 1996.

The responsibilities of the sales and marketing post are being handled by marketing manager Sarah Buckle until a replacement is found.

Last year, BMW offered to buy the Rolls name, including Bentley, from the UK-based Vickers, but lost out to Volkswagen, which also owns the manufacturing facilities of Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce subsequently sold the Rolls brand name and logo to BMW. But VW is allowed to use the Rolls name until 2003, and keeps the Bentley brand.

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