VW Group boss steps down, Herbert Diess steps up as new chairman

Katrina Barker
April 15, 2018

The change in CEO was part of a wider management shake-up, the carmaker said.

He takes over the company as a new super manager, running both the group as a whole, with its 640,000 staff worldwide, and the flagship Volkswagen brand as well as the research and development and vehicle IT divisions. "For that, he is due the thanks of the entire Company".

"In order to sustainably implement the new structure, there will be a number of changes on the board of management".

The statement continued: "He assumed the chairmanship of the board of management in the fall of 2015 when the company faced the greatest challenge in its history".

The automaker also moved to replace its human resources director, Karlheinz Blessing, with Gunnar Kilian. Additionally, Porsche sports auto division head Oliver Blume is being promoted to the top management body of the entire group.

Speaking at a news conference at the company's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, Diess said the company's goal would be "to forcefully and with focus press ahead" with the company's Strategy 2025.

The world's largest automaker announced Thursday that Diess, 59, had been chosen to replace outgoing boss Matthias Mueller in a surprise leadership shift.

Diess appointment as CEO was followed by other changes in the management of the automaker.

"We will review all options", Diess said, adding that this could include investing in the businesses or pursuing a sale.

Mueller, a former chief executive of VW subsidiary Porsche AG, was brought in to replace Martin Winterkorn in 2015 and was contracted to serve until 2020. Prior to this, the company admitted that it had used devices to the skew results on U.S. emission tests. Mueller, 64, has steered the mammoth vehicle maker into a massive restructuring, aiming to offer electric versions of many of its models and slim down its operations over the coming decade.

It thinks Herbert Diess is the right executive for the job.

Shares in Volkswagen climbed 1.7% to ß176.06 (R2 603) in late morning trade in Frankfurt, vastly outperforming the Dax index of leading shares that was up just 0.1%.

Suspicions of emissions cheating have also spread to other carmakers, shattering diesel's image as a clean engine and prompting several smog-clogged German cities to mull diesel driving bans.

Since coming to Volkswagen in July, 2015, Diess has had the hard task of negotiating restructuring and cost-cutting with German worker representatives as head of the core Volkswagen nameplate.

Diess appeared to be on his way out at VW after a public clash with Osterloh who then accused him publicly of breaking promises and unduly pushing cost cuts. The last resigned after "diesel scandal".

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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