VW Names Stackmann to Run Seat Unit to Drive Turnaround

Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest carmaker, named Juergen Stackmann to replace James Muir as head of the loss-making Spanish Seat unit.

The 51-year-old executive, who joined VW in 2010 from Ford Motor Co., will take over at the Martorell-based brand on May 1, VW said in a statement today. Stackmann joined VW as the sales chief for the Czech Skoda brand, before later taking over marketing responsibilities at the VW Group and VW brand.

Muir will “assume a senior management function within the Volkswagen Group and will report directly to the board of management,” the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said. VW spokesman Markus Schlesag declined to comment on Muir’s next job.

Seat is the only loss-making unit at VW, whose operating profit rose 1.8 percent to 11.5 billion euros (15 billion) in 2012. Seat’s loss narrowed 31 percent last year to 156 million euros. Industrywide deliveries in Spain are down 9.7 percent through February as high unemployment depresses demand.

Auto executives are forecasting a sixth straight year of declining demand in Europe in 2013.

Muir moved to Seat in 2009 from the European division of Japanese carmaker Mazda Motor Corp. and “has been instrumental in successfully restructuring the company,” VW said today.

Stackmann holds a degree in business administration and started his career with Ford in 1989, where he held various positions in Germany and the U.K.