Volkswagen contemplates shakeup; Mueller's future uncertain

13 April, 2018, 03:54 | Author: Shannon Aguilar
  • Unions will get a VW board seat if they agree to Herbert Diess as CEO

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

Volkswagen, which employes over 640,000 people, turned aggressively to electric cars under Mueller's leadership.

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.

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.

A separately listed trucks and bus business could have a market value of up to 30 billion euros ($37 billion), Evercore ISI analysts have said. Amid opposition from labour leaders, he failed to sell motorbike maker Ducati a year ago. Predecessor Martin Winterkorn fell victim to the company's scandal over cars rigged to cheat on diesel emissions tests.

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Continuing, Reuters reports: "But the persistent tug of war between its controlling families, unions and other stakeholders have made it hard to drive through structural changes that investors have said are key to the company fulfilling its potential".

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. His contract is due to run until 2020.

The 59-year-old has focused his reforms at the VW brand on procurement and process management to bring its cost structure and efficiency closer to that of rival Toyota, but stopped short of making sweeping job cuts.

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.

"The Volkswagen Group's goal is and remains to align the Company and its brands with future needs, to safeguard its position among the leaders of the worldwide automotive industry with innovativeness and profitability, and to be instrumental in shaping tomorrow's personal mobility with the strength of our Group brands", said Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Hans Dieter Pötsch.

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