Walter Maria De Silva was born on February 27, 1951 in Lecco, Italy. His long automotive career began in 1972 at Fiat Design Centre in Turin, followed by a four-year experience, from 1975 to 1979, at Studio Bonetto in Milan. He subsequently joined and spent seven years at the Institute Idea in Turin as Head of the Industrial Design and Automobiles Area. By 1986, after a short stint working for “Trussardi Design Milano”, de Silva was made in charge of the Alfa Romeo Design Centre in Milan, a role he maintained until the late 1990s.
In 1999 he was enrolled at SEAT as Head of SEAT Design. Since March 2002 de Silva has been responsible for design within the Audi brand group, comprising the brands Audi, Lamborghini and SEAT. He was appointed Head of Group Design for Volkswagen AG on February 2007 and since then he has assumed design responsibility for all brands within the Group. Among others, he has been awarded with the “Design Prize of the Federal Republic of Germany 2010” for the A5 design, the “Compasso d’Oro” (July 2011) and the Lifetime Design Achievement Award 2011 (EyesOn Design Detroit).