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Herbert Diess replaces Matthias Mueller

15 April, 2018, 01:11 | Author: Shawna Walton
  • Breeze Motor expands Portsmouth Volkswagen van business

Board member Hans Dieter Pötsch adds, effusively, "Together with his team, he also fundamentally realigned the Group's strategy, initiated cultural change and, with great personal commitment, made sure that the Volkswagen Group not just stayed on track but is now more robust than ever before".

Volkswagen said it was breaking the business into six new vehicle divisions and a special portfolio for the China region.

It is not clear to what extent any restructuring plans for the Volkswagen Group - which includes the VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda brands - will be decided at the board meeting, expected to start at 1500 GMT and last late into the night.

Oliver Blume, CEO of Porsche, joins the Group Board of Management, and takes on the responsibility for group production. The company did not detail the fifth and sixth business divisions ahead of a news conference scheduled for 10:30 a.m. (0930 GMT) Friday.

Chief Executive Matthias Mueller is set to be replaced by VW brand boss Herbert Diess after failing to refocus the group's portfolio of auto brands, ranging from Skoda to Lamborghini.

With about 642,000 employees, VW is one of the world's largest companies in every respect.

Mueller held the top job for more than 2½ years after succeeding CEO Martin Winterkorn, who was ousted days after the company's diesel pollution scandal was exposed in September 2015.

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 automaker's share price has since recovered, but some lawsuits are still pending.

"It's right for VW to look in a new direction", judged analyst Juergen Pieper of Metzler bank.

Shares in Volkswagen closed almost two percent higher to 176.60 euros ahead of the closely-watched board meeting, outperforming the Dax index of leading shares that was up almost one percent. One hypothesis is that it all comes down to Diess being an outsider, someone who was not intimately involved in the plot to deceive regulators about diesel emissions.

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.

He will head up the management board that reports to the group's board of directors and take charge of vehicle development and research as well as vehicle-related information technology.

Described as highly ambitious, Diess has earned a reputation as a fierce cost cutter unafraid of pushing through big changes.

Müller, as well as other current and former VW Group executives, may still be under investigation by German authorities for their roles in the scandal.

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