Апреля 23 2018

Volkswagen names new chief executive in boardroom revamp

Апреля 23 2018, 09:05 | Alonzo Simpson

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The 64-year-old Mueller's contract is due to run until 2020. Mr Mueller had signalled his "general willingness to contribute to the changes", the statement read, and that the board was considering changes that included the position of the CEO. He was replaced by Matthias Mueller, a Volkswagen stalwart who stepped up to guide the company through the storm-tossed waters that surrounded it because of the diesel cheating mess.

A VW logo is seen in front of the main building of the Volkswagen brand at the Volkswagen headquarters during a media tour to present Volkswagen's so called "Blaue Fabrik" (Blue Factory) environmental program, in Wolfsburg, Germany May 19, 2017.

While the timing of the handover seems somewhat counterintuitive - VW is financially on the mend and has defended its status as the industry No. 1 - Mueller had at times shown signs of fatigue. "He assumed the chairmanship of the board of management in the fall of 2015 when the company faced the greatest challenge in its history".

Volkswagen is expected to finalize major changes to its leadership and possibly its structure after a supervisory board meeting later Thursday. Its profit margin climbed to 7.4 per cent of sales a year ago from 6 per cent in 2015, when the crisis hit. Certainly, PR is a factor, especially if the decision is made to do a separate stock listing for the firm's truck and bus division.

In the aftermath of the diesel-cheating scandal, Mr Mueller sought to overhaul Volkswagen's rigid top-down management structure, delegating more responsibility to its brand and regional chiefs.

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"Diess is ready to weather conflict, which is important to make things happen in a company like Volkswagen", said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the University of Duisburg-Essen's Center for Automotive Research. Matthias Mueller steps down as chairman of the board of management by mutual agreement, effective immediately.

Blume's appointment to VW's management board comes a decade after Porsche attempted to swallow the Volkswagen Group in a spectacular, secret coup that then sports auto brand chairman Wendelin Wiedeking and chief strategist Holger Harter nearly pulled off - before it all collapsed spectacularly.

Even more impressive is the fact that the company remains profitable despite the millions in fines, hundreds of thousands of cars recalled and the drop in sales across European markets. Now, he's poised to take VW's top job.

For Lower Saxony, represented on the VW supervisory board through Prime Minister Stephan Weil and Economy Minister Bernd Althusmann, the key is to protect local jobs, a goal shared with VW's unions, which effectively gives the pro-labor camp control of the board.

The potential restructuring was first reported by German magazine Der Spiegel.

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