News of March
Franz-Josef Paefgen takes up position as chairman and chief executive Bentley Motors
It was his father's car repair shop that sparked off in Paefgen a passion for cars and an abiding interest in the automotive business. Paefgen's first car was a Beetle but he has long been a Bentley admirer - one of his favourite models of all time is the R-Type Continental.
Born in Büttgen, Germany in 1946, Paefgen studied mechanical engineering and economics at Karlsruhe and Aachen. After completing his doctorate, he became a graduate trainee at Ford of Germany in 1976, going on to work in its engine development and quality assurance departments.
In 1980 Paefgen moved to Audi in Neckarsulm to be responsible for interior equipment and electrics. He moved to the manufacturer's Ingolstadt plant as head of body trim and equipment, climate control systems in 1987. In 1991 he became head of product planning and project management, and three years later was appointed acting head of research and development.
Paefgen was a member of Audi AG's board of management with responsibility for technical development from early 1995 until April 1997, at the start of which year he took over as deputy chairman. That summer he was appointed spokesman of the Audi management board, becoming its chairman in March 1998. After the takeover of Lamborghini by Audi in July 1998, Paefgen was appointed president of Automobili Lamborghini Holding.
Now, as chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors, he sees his primary task as ensuring that the brand is positioned where it should be: "on top of everything". This sporting luxury car range will, he believes, prove successful and profitable, and Team Bentley will win Le Mans!
Franz-Josef Paefgen is an active rower and skier, and relaxes by running and reading. Apart from sport, his hobbies are classical and Beatles music and, of course, cars. He is married and has three children.
(March 1, 2002)