Volkswagen's Diess goes from lame duck to top dog in two years

13 April, 2018, 03:56 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • Volkswagen CEO Shakeup? Dieselgate Still Roiling Upper Management Ranks At Volkswagen?

Mueller "has done outstanding work for the Volkswagen Group", VW said in a statement.

Volkswagen has replaced its chief executive in a sudden management overhaul aimed at making a clean break from its diesel scandal and preparing the automaker for major industry changes.

The company said it was contemplating a management reshuffle and reassigning responsibilities among executives that "could include a change in the position of the chairman of the board of management", the German term for CEO.

"Bringing Herbert Diess' CEO nomination forward is the next step in transforming VW into a more modern and effective company", Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst said in a note. The move is part of an effort to reorganize the company to do business more efficiently, the company said.

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CEO Matthias Mueller will relinquish his post and will be succeeded by Herbert Diess, who had been serving as CEO of the VW brand and has gained a reputation for cost-cutting at the sprawling company.

Mr Diess joined VW from German rival BMW in mid-2015, shortly before the scandal erupted publicly. That project became much more urgent as the diesel scandal generated massive costs, and meant taking on established interest groups.

"He launched an ambitious reform plan, including investing billions of euros in electric vehicles, but has struggled to push through changes aimed at creating a more efficient and focused company".

Early in Diess's tenure as head of the VW auto brand, labour leader Bernd Osterloh publicly questioned his credibility in contract talks, raising concerns that he might fall victim to the carmaker's complex internal politics, which has toppled many high-profile newcomers. But instead of being squeezed out, he has been pushed upward, and has been made CEO.

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Without citing its sources, Spiegel said Karlheinz Blessing, who was appointed management board member with responsibility for human resources on January 1, 2016, would be replaced by Gunnar Kilian, secretary general of VW's works council.

Human resources chief Karlheinz Blessing is also set to go. He then took charge of development, but was ultimately passed over for the CEO job, when the Munich-based company picked Harald Krueger in December 2014.

Diess's appointment comes two days after a company statement that was as surprising as it was cryptic, saying that Mueller had agreed "in principle" to contribute to a management change, without elaborating or mentioning his chosen successor by name.

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