Volkswagen loses its chief designer, Walter de Silva, who will retire at the age of 64 and after nine years dedicated to the German automaker.
According to a statement from Volkswagen, the creative mind behind a range of 12 brands from Seat to Bentley will leave the company at the end of November, but will continue to act as an adviser to the VW Group. His retirement comes at a sensitive time for the automaker, amidst its reorganisation following the emissions cheating scandal, which left de Silva’s reputation unharmed. Its successor has not been announced yet and there are indications that the position might be eliminated to cut back on costs.
Walter Maria de Silva was born in Lecco (Italy) on February 27, 1951 and joined the Volkswagen Group 17 years ago when he became Head of the SEAT Design Centre in 1998. He was put in charge of the design of the Audi brand group, including the brands Audi, Lamborghini and SEAT, in 2002. He was appointed Head of Group Design at Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft in 2007. Walter de Silva saw the main focus of his work as design chief in establishing and nurturing a common design culture across all brands, which nevertheless allows each brand to retain a high degree of creative autonomy.
The vehicles created by de Silva include the Alfa 156 (1997) and 147 (2001), the Volkswagen up!, the Polo and the Golf 6 and 7, the Audi R8 and the Audi A5, about which de Silva said that it was “the most beautiful car” he had ever designed. The CEO of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, Matthias Müller, paid tribute to Walter de Silva’s work with these words: “Walter de Silva epitomizes creativity and the Italian sense of beauty and style on the one hand and thoroughness, a systematic approach and discipline on the other.”
Via Automotive News Europe