Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Volkswagen Gearing Up To Replace CEO With VW Brand Head

VW recalls 17000 vehicles due to fire risk State Releases Plan for Phase 1 of Volkswagen Settlement Money
Jodi Jackson | 15 April, 2018, 01:05

Reuters said sources told the news agency that the supervisory board would seek to bring works council executive Gunnar Kilian onto the company's management board to try to secure backing for new CEO Diess and his plans.

The change in leadership is only part of a larger restructuring effort that has been underway (at least in part) since shortly after the full scope of the company's diesel emissions fiasco came to light.

The 64-year-old Mr Mueller will be replaced before Volkswagen's annual general meeting on May 3, the Bild newspaper said yesterday.

Volkswagen is more complex than most of its peers, with the Porsche-Piech families de-facto controlling the manufacturer and the state of Lower-Saxony - home to the company's headquarters and VW's main factory - owning 20 per cent.

The magazine cited an insider close to the supervisory board who interpreted Diess ambition to lead the Volkswagen Group and Volkswagen brands simultaneously as motivated by the CEO's desire to continue to exert direct influence over the development of the company's flagship brand.

Volkswagen admitted in 2015 it had rigged millions of diesel engines to cheat on emissions tests. The latest results showed that the core VW brand posted sharply increased profits for 2017, even if the costs for dealing with the diesel emissions scandal remained high across the group.

"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". Amid opposition from labour leaders, he failed to sell motorbike maker Ducati a year ago.

Mueller's contract as CEO at Volkswagen had been expected to run through the end of 2019, so a change now would represent a substantial reduction in his tenure at the head of the firm.

As CEO, Mueller led Volkswagen through the aftermath of the scandal, which included billions in fines and penalties and USA criminal charges against several executives, to record sales and strong profits.

Volkswagen is similar to other large companies in Germany, which, under a policy known as co-determination, or Mitbestimmung, requires supervisory boards to grant equal representation to workers and members elected by shareholders.

Its statement said the truck and bus division, the fourth business group, would be made ready for capital markets, a step that could include selling shares in the division.

Mr Diess will likely face similar challenges to get Volkswagen's stakeholders to unite.

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. He then joined BMW, working his way up to board level via a three-year stint running the company's Oxford plant.

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