Martin Hofmann will leave Volkswagen on April 1. The group CIO since 2011 announced on Friday to 4,000 IT employees that he would be pursuing other plans from next month on. The planned Mini CIOmove to Wolfsburg on May 13 has to be postponed – due to Corona.
Martin Hofmann, CIO of VW until April 2020 (Photo: Volkswagen AG)
Hofmann didn´t comment on the exact form his future plans. However, he has been planning to leave Volkswagen for nine months, he said. He will be succeeded on an interim basis by Beate Hofer, who was previously responsible for IT security at Volkswagen. In his final video conference she presented him with a very special farewell gift. No irony: the roll of toilet paper that Beate Hofer handed over to her predecessor in front of the camera expresses her special appreciation. A glance at German store shelves shows that the roll was a truly valuable and cherished gift. “I would have liked to hug you again,” the CISO is said to have said, according to Volkswagen employees, but then refrained from doing so in view of the current situation.
The Chairman of the Group Works Council, Bernd Osterloh, also had words of praise, in view of Hofmann’s last speech to the IT team, which this time was held exclusively as a video conference. Hofmann’s departure hits the company at a most inopportune time. IT competence is in demand right now. Last weekend Volkswagen increased the number of VPN accesses from 20000 to 70000. In the next few days, this number is to be increased even further. Hofmann wants to continue to take responsibility in this emergency situation.
Martin Hofmann has been with Volkswagen since 2001 and has been in charge of enterprise IT since 2011, having previously worked for six years as “Head of Digital Supply Chain” at EDS. Hofmann holds a doctorate in engineering from the ETH Zurich, a degree in business administration from the University of Mannheim and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. Since last year, he also holds the title of CIO of 2019 in the category Innovation.
Hofmann’s departure may have come as a surprise to some IT colleagues. However, those familiar with the Volkswagen system rumor that the CIO had probably been happy about his “full time account” for some time. Volkswagen employees can pay parts of their fixed salary and bonuses into this account in order to retire earlier from their active working hours. Anyone who started early enough can stop working at the age of 55 and continue to draw a salary until retirement. Those who still get their time value account full this year will be paid according to an old, advantageous procedure. In addition, the bonuses at Volkswagen will probably not be as generous for the time being.
Hofmann says nothing about these speculations and his plans for the future. The only statement to which I get carried away: “In my biography, I was the only one who wrote the chapters – and the next one too! It should be noted that he turns 55 in April. And that he still has two children, who are at least partly happy when daddy is at home.