VW chief designer kicked out by CEO

Just a few days it was reported that Jozef Kaban, chief of design at Volkswagen, has been fired by the new CEO of Volkswagen passenger cars Thomas Schaefer. It was revealed that Kaban was being replaced by Bentley design chief Andreas Mindt. Well, the reports were true and recently the company has made the announcement that Kaban is indeed getting replaced by Andreas Mindt.

VW chief designer kicked out by CEO

Announcing the news, Kai Grünitz, a member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand responsible for Technical Development, said, “As Chief Designer of the Volkswagen brand, Jozef Kabaň demonstrated that design involves more than simply styling individual models. Through his design vocabulary he has already left his mark on our entire range. In his new role as Creative Art Director he will collaborate closely with the Future Center in Potsdam going forward. On behalf of the Board of Management, I would like to thank him for his unwavering commitment as Chief Designer.”

He further added, “At the same time, I am delighted that we have been able to gain Andreas Mindt – an internationally experienced and respected designer from the Volkswagen Group – for our brand. Andreas Mindt will shape Volkswagen’s design language in the upcoming decisive phase of our transformation. I am looking forward to working with him.”

According to the prior report it was stated that Thomas Schaefer, wasn’t a fan of all of Kaban’s designs. The ID Life concept, which debuted at the 2021 IAA Munich auto show, was one of Schaefer’s top requests to be replaced. Additionally, according to rumors, Schaefer wanted Kaban to change the Trinity concept from a sedan to a crossover before its 2026 launch as a flagship electric car. Although it is unknown if Kaban objected, it is understandable that Schaefer would want to push for additional crossovers considering their popularity among EV buyers.

Jozef Kabaň earned a Master of Arts in automotive design from the Royal College of Art in London, UK, in 1997 after completing his studies in product and industrial design at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia. In 2019, he received the honorific Dr. h. c. Kabaň  started his career in 1993 at Volkswagen Design, where he worked on the Bugatti Veyron and other automobiles.

He joined Audi as head of external design in 2003. KODA’ Kabaň served as Head of Design at ŜKODA from 2008 until 2017. He returned to the Volkswagen brand in 2020 as Chief Designer following three years serving as the head designer at two automobile manufacturers outside of the Volkswagen Group.

Meanwhile Andreas Mindt who will be succeeding Kabaň, graduated from the Pforzheim University School of Design in 1996 and then started working for the Volkswagen Group. By 2014, he had already held a number of jobs at the Volkswagen company, working on projects including the external design of the Golf 7 and the first generation Tiguan, among others.

He oversaw the realignment of Audi’s external design from the Audi A1 through the Audi e-tron GT and from the Audi Q3 through the Audi Q8, which took place from 2014 to 2021. He was entrusted with creating Bentley’s new design language, which was introduced this summer with the Bentley Batur, starting in 2021 in his capacity as Director of Bentley Design.

Utkarsh Deshmukh

Utkarsh is a passionate car enthusiast and Feature Writer at for over two years. He specializes in writing up-to-date news stories and deep dives into the auto industry. With a knack for cutting through the noise, Utkarsh delivers clear and informative pieces that keep readers engaged and informed about the latest in cars. (Full bio)