Volkswagen replaces CEO, announces new structure

Volkswagen CEO Shakeup? Dieselgate Still Roiling Upper Management Ranks At Volkswagen?

Volkswagen has chosen Herbert Diess as its new chief executive in an overhaul that includes streamlining the company's multiple auto brands into just three groups while preparing its truck business for a potential listing.

"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 global 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.

Mr Diess replaces Matthias Mueller, who was appointed in 2015 at the height of the diesel emissions scandal.

Diess is a former BMW executive who since 2015 has headed the core Volkswagen brand. Karlheinz Blessing, head of human resources, has been replaced by Gunnar Kilian, secretary-general of VW's works council, which represents employees.

Board Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said Muller had done "outstanding work" at a time when the company "faced the greatest challenge in its history". The scandal has cost the company over $30 billion.

The new structure will include dividing Volkswagen's 12 brands into three groups: volume products, premium and super premium.

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Volkswagen will carve out a trucks and buses division that includes MAN and Scania heavy-truck brands, the source said, adding that Volkswagen's MAN Turbo and Renk units would be put into a further division. He would also have charge of vehicle development and research, and vehicle-related information technology, a key aspect in autonomous mobility and services offered through smartphone apps.

Diess was the subject of speculation as a possible successor to Winterkorn when he arrived at Volkswagen from BMW less than three months before Winterkorn's sudden departure left the company needing a new CEO in a hurry.

Purchasing chief Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, the longest-serving top executive at VW, will leave the company, the carmaker said.

Oliver Blume, CEO of Porsche, joins the Group Board of Management, and takes on the responsibility for group production.

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

Volkswagen is controlled by the Piech and Porsche families, who hold 52 percent of the voting rights.

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