Thomas Schäfer was born in Marburg, Germany, in 1970.
He entered the automotive industry through a dual study programme at Daimler AG and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1994. He held various management positions in the areas of production and quality assurance in Germany, the USA and South Africa at Daimler until 2002. From 2002 to 2005, he was a founding member of DaimlerChrysler Malaysia as Board member for Technology.
At the Stuttgart headquarters, Schäfer was responsible for vehicle deliveries, customer centres and the global CKD business in emerging markets between 2005 and 2012.
In May 2012, Schäfer moved to Volkswagen AG, where he headed the Group’s International Production and was responsible for CKD projects and negotiations on new production sites.
From 2015, he held the position of Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa and was responsible for the development of the Group brands in the sub-Saharan Africa region.
Schäfer has been CEO of ŠKODA AUTO since August 2020. He launched the new corporate strategy NEXT LEVEL – ŠKODA STRATEGY 2030, drove forward the electrification of the model portfolio and laid the foundation for becoming the leading European brand in India, Russia and North Africa.
Thomas Schäfer has been Chief Operating Officer of the Volkswagen brand since 1 April 2022. On 1 July 2022 he will assume overall responsibility for the brand as CEO and Member of the Volkswagen AG Board of Management, at the same time heading up the Volume Brand Group.