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Peter Mertens (Photo: Audi)

Audi looked to Volvo Cars for a senior development executive for the second time this year, announcing Thursday that Peter Mertens will become its next head of research and development.

Mertens is Volvo's senior vice president R&D. He succeeds Stefan Knirsch, who left Audi in September amid continuing investigations into Volkswagen Group's cheating on emission tests.

In August, Audi recruited Thomas Mueller, until then Volvo's vice president electrics/electronics & chassis, to succeed Ricky Hudi as head of electrics/electronics at Volkswagen's premium brand. Mueller will take up his position in a key business area for Audi next month.

Audi CEO Ruper Stadler, in a press statement, cited Mertens' broad technical expertise and international automotive experience as factors in his appointment.

"These are ideal qualifications for him to make further progress with the technical development division at Audi,” Stadler said.

Before joining Volvo in 2011, Mertens worked in various management positions at Mercedes-Benz, Opel, General Motors Europe and Jaguar Land Rover.

Mertens was born in 1961, is married and has three children.