Herbert Diess Joins Volkswagen As New Group CEO

Herbert Diess Joins Volkswagen As New Group CEO

Volkswagen on Thursday announced the appointment of Diess, after the group's board of directors ousted Matthias Mueller as CEO, in an overhaul of the company, which spans motorbikes, buses, trucks and passenger auto brands including Ducati, Bentley, Porsche, Audi, Scania and Skoda.

Diess is not only to head the management board, the top executive body at German companies that reports to the supervisory board, or board of directors; he is also to be in charge of vehicle development and research, as well as vehicle-related information technology.

"Bundling brands in groups greatly helps to increase synergies", said Bankhaus Metzler analyst Juergen Pieper.

According to VW, the new structure has been created in order to streamline group management, leverages synergies in the individual operating units and speed up decision making.

"Matthias Muller has laid the groundwork for our transformation", Diess said in the release.

"Not only did he safely navigate Volkswagen through that time; 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. For that, he is due to the thanks of the entire company".

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Europe's largest automotive group is poised to replace group chief executive Matthias Mueller this week with Diess, a cost-cutter hired in 2015 from BMW as it seeks fresh impetus for its recovery from an emissions scandal.

Diess described the "most important task" ahead for himself and the German corporate titan as "pushing forward our evolution into a profitable, world-leading provider of sustainable mobility".

Blume will head up a "super premium" cars division which groups Bentley, Porsche, Bugatti and possibly Lamborghini, which is now integrated with Audi. About 482,000 were sold in the USA, and 11 million around the world.

The scandal, in which VW installed emissions-cheating software in 11 million vehicles worldwide, has cost the firm at least $30bn (£22.4bn) in fines and other costs.

As of February, VW had spent more than $7.4 billion in buying back about 350,000 vehicles.

Human resources head Karlheinz Blessing is being replaced by Gunnar Kilian, until now an official with the company's works council - or employee representatives - and Porsche sports vehicle division head Oliver Blume is being promoted to the top management body of the entire group, Volkswagen said. Garcia Sanz, who was head of procurement, has left the company and Ralf Brandstätter, board of management member responsible for procurement for the VW brand, will take on this additional role provisionally.

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