For Keogh, who became CEO of VW of America in November 2018 and was handed a challenging mandate to double the VW Group’s collective U.S. market share to 10 percent by 2028, the appeal of effectively building a startup from scratch without the normal investor and sourcing woes was, to say the least, appealing.
“For me, a kid from Long Island, it was, frankly, just too good to pass up. It’s something I very much want to do, it’s something I’m passionate about, and certainly something I’m going to try my darnedest to achieve,” Keogh told reporters in a brief conference call.
“Most startups are borrowing money; you’re down in Dad’s basement, Mom’s bringing down some scrambled eggs, and you do the best you can,” the two-time Automotive News All-Star said. “I think the upside is yes, we want them to be lean, we want to be fast, we want to get the best of the market. But of course, we do have the backing and the scaling effects that come with the [VW] Group.”
Keogh, who joined Audi as a marketing executive in 2006 after a stint at Mercedes-Benz, said he’s going “to go from running a region, to running a company. But I want to be clear: It’s a company of one person. I was running a business with 22,000 people across the country, so it’s a heck of a transformation.”
Keogh steps down from VW of America and fully ventures out on his own with Scout effective Sept. 1, when he will be replaced by Pablo Di Si, 52, who has headed VW’s South American region. In a press release, the company credited Di Si, who joined VW in 2014, for leading the company’s return to profitability in Latin America. “He also led a restructuring focused on cultural transformation, creating new business models, accelerating digitalization and improving client satisfaction,” VW said. He was not immediately available for comment after the announcement of his new position.