Thomas Schäfer was born in Marburg, Germany, in 1970. He entered the automotive industry through a dual study program 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 the 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 up 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 became CEO of ŠKODA AUTO in August 2020. He launched the new corporate strategy NEXT LEVEL – ŠKODA STRATEGY 2030, advanced the electrification of the model portfolio and laid the foundation for becoming the leading European brand in growth regions like India and North Africa.
Thomas Schäfer assumed the position of Chief Operating Officer of the Volkswagen brand on 1 April 2022.
Since 1 July 2022, he has been a member of the Group Board of Management, CEO of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand and Head of the Brand Group Core.