Czech automaker ŠKODA appoints first woman to its board of directors

The appointment of Maren Gräf as Board Member for Human Resources is a historic first for the company.

Tom Lane

Written by Tom Lane
Published on 15.02.2021 12:12 (updated on 15.02.2021)

The Czech motor company ŠKODA AUTO has announced a number of changes to its Board of Management including, according to Forbes.cz, the appointment of a first female board member.

Maren Gräf is currently the Head of Group HR and will take over as Board Member for Human Resources. She will be replacing Bohdan Wojnar in the role, who decided to step down from his position with the automobile company after ten years.

Wojnar will still be involved with the motoring industry and ŠKODA AUTO as he becomes President of the Czech Automotive Industry Association.

ŠKODA AUTO CEO Thomas Schäfer said:

"I would like to welcome Maren Gräf to the Board of Management. With her, we are gaining a recognized HR expert with international experience and diversifying the Board. She is taking over an HR department that her predecessor Bohdan Wojnar has left in good shape."

"Her task will now be to take our Human Resources division to the next level. Our aim is to offer all Škodians sustainable employment, while significantly strengthening and expanding our e-mobility and software expertise and promoting the diversity of the ŠKODA family across all areas and levels. I wish Maren Gräf every success and a great start in her new role.”

A press release from the company confirmed all changes on ŠKODA AUTO’s Board of Management will take effect on March. 1, 2021.

Gräf, an attorney, first joined the Volkswagen Group in 1999 at Volkswagen Immobilien, initially in the Legal Affairs Department and later as an assistant to the CEO. She worked in the HR Department at Volkswagen AG in Wolfsburg from 2002 to 2005 before returning to Volkswagen Immobilien in 2005. Between 2012 and 2015, Maren Gräf worked at FAW-Volkswagen in Changchun, China as Head of Management Development in the HR area.

In August 2015, she returned to Wolfsburg to take over as Head of Management Development in the areas of Production & Logistics, Component Production, and E-mobility. In November 2018, she was appointed Head of VW Group Top Management HR. Besides these roles, Maren Gräf is also a Supervisory Board Member at Wolfsburg AG.

Schafer also paid tribute to outgoing board member Bohdan Wojnar.

The CEO said: "He has played a significant role in ŠKODA’s tremendous development over the past decade – a development that is also reflected in the steady growth of our workforce from 26,000 at the beginning of his tenure to nearly 42,000 employees today. I look forward to continuing the close cooperation with Bohdan Wojnar in his role as President of the Czech Association of the Automotive Industry and wish him all the best for this new phase of his life.”

Meanwhile, Czech Volkswagen Group Top Manager Martin Jahn will be rejoining the company as Board Member for Sales and Marketing. He will be replacing Alain Favey. Favey will shortly be taking on a new role in the Volkswagen Group, which has yet to be confirmed.

Since 1895, Škoda Auto has been creating vehicles in the Czech Republic. with the company celebratinging 125 years in 2020.

According to the latest Gender Equality Index from the European Institute for Gender Equality, currently, just 16.2% of board members in the Czech Republic are female. The Index score is 27.7 on a system that measures gender equality in decision-making positions across the political, economic and social spheres. That number has increased from 26.1 in 2019 and 22.6 in 2017. While the Czech Republic has made progress, the country lags behind the EU average in many other areas of gender equality.

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