Shakeup at Volkswagen: Is U.S. Chief Stefan Jacoby Bailing to Volvo?

Drama in the automotive world isn't limited to struggling startups and bankrupt heavyweights. Case in point: Rumors are circulating that Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of the Volkswagen Group of America, is ditching VW for Volvo, where he will become chief executive in August--the same month that Ford's sale of Volvo to Chinese automaker Geely Holding Group is finalized. Jacoby will replace Stephen Odell, who is set to become head of Ford's European operations, according to Reuters.

Volvo won't say whether Jacoby has been hired. Volkwagen, for its part, says that contractual talks are ongoing. The automaker released this statement today:

We are holding contract talks with Stefan Jacoby. These talks have by no means been concluded yet. Until the contractual situation has been clarified, Michael Lohscheller will assume interim responsibility for Volkswagen Group of America and Mark Barnes will assume interim responsibility for Volkswagen of America.

Jacoby has done a lot for VW in his position as U.S. Chief. He designed VW's first models for the U.S market and also spearheaded the company's recent U.S. expansion, which includes a factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, set to manufacture midsize cars later this year. And whoever takes over will be in charge of  fulfilling Jacoby's goal of doubling the number of VW car's sold in the U.S. to 450,000 by 2012 to 2013. Stay tuned.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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