Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

Volkswagen Gearing Up To Replace CEO With VW Brand Head

Unions will get a VW board seat if they agree to Herbert Diess as CEO Volkswagen CEO Shakeup? Dieselgate Still Roiling Upper Management Ranks At Volkswagen?
Cristina Norman | 13 April, 2018, 03:53

Earlier on Tuesday, two people familiar with the matter said Volkswagen was set to replace CEO Mueller with the head of its core VW brand, Herbert Diess.

Blessing's removal will be part of a broader reshuffle that could affect other senior executives, the source said.

"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 sprawling corporate network of Volkswagen now employs more than 600,000 staff across the world and includes the brands Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Skoda, Seat, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Bentley, as well as a truck producers MAN and Scania. The scandal has cost the company over $30 billion.

Supervisory board chief Hans Dieter Poetsch had been "speaking with different members of the supervisory and executive boards" about moving or replacing some of them, it went on, adding that Mueller "signalled he was open to play a part in the changes". Amid opposition from labor leaders, Mueller failed to sell motorbike maker Ducati previous year.

Mr Diess, a former BMW executive who joined VW in July 2015, has clashed with the company's labour leaders. "Unions and Lower Saxony together have the power to block his appointment".

In the aftermath of the diesel-cheating scandal, Mr Mueller sought to overhaul Volkswagen's rigid top-down management structure, delegating more responsibility to its brand and regional chiefs. The company sold a record 10.74 million vehicles, making it the world's largest carmaker, though the title is disputed by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, which sold 10.6 million and says Volkswagen is counting trucks that aren't cars.

That plan comes as rivals, including Fiat Chrysler and Daimler, consider spin-offs or legally separate divisions to boost their share prices and raise cash to fund development of electric and self-driving cars.

"Diess is ready to weather conflict, which is important to make things happen in a company like Volkswagen", said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the University of Duisburg-Essen's Center for Automotive Research. His contract is due to run until 2020.

Prior to the promotion, Diess was Volkswagen's brand chief.

Volkswagen is expected to finalize major changes to its leadership and possibly its structure after a supervisory board meeting later Thursday.

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