NEWS: VW snatches Kocks from Gerling’s grasp

German car manufacturer Volkswagen has poached Klaus Kocks, director of corporate communications for Germany’s largest gas supplier Ruhrgas, as its first director of corporate communications.

German car manufacturer Volkswagen has poached Klaus Kocks, director of

corporate communications for Germany’s largest gas supplier Ruhrgas, as

its first director of corporate communications.



Kocks, who was appointed to Volkswagen’s management board at the end of

April, takes up his new post on 1 July.



He had been due to join Cologne-based insurer Gerling (PR Week, 16

February), but it is understood that Volkswagen’s chief executive

Ferdinand Piech personally intervened to recruit Kocks.



Based at Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg near Hanover, Kocks will

build a new communications division out of the company’s existing press

and PR department. The division will enjoy similar status to

Volkswagen’s six existing divisions - controlling and accounting, sales

and marketing, human resources, production and optimisation, research

and development and group strategy.



A Volkswagen spokesman declined to give details about the

communications division’s staffing and responsibilities until Kocks’

arrival next month, but admitted that the appointment was part of

Volkswagen’s PR strategy to combat attacks by arch rival General Motors.



Volkswagen has been embroiled in a legal wrangle with the US car giant

and its German unit Adam Opel for the last three years amid allegations

of industrial spying. General Motors claims that its former procurement

manager Jose Ignacio Lopez took secret documents with him when he joined

VW in 1993.



Press and publicity for Volkswagen was previously the responsibility of

Otto Wachs, now the company’s representative for the Expo 2000 world

fair in Hanover.



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