News of a new CEO taking over at Volkswagen Group are no longer rumors. The company announced today that Herbert Diess, Volkswagen brand chief, will succeed Matthias Mueller as CEO of the overarching company that oversees several brands. Along with announcing the new CEO, VW Group also announced a major restructuring of its brands, dividing them up into six new business areas.
VW Group’s brands, which include Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Skoda, and others, will be put into three groups – Volume, Premium, and Super Premium. One business area will be dedicated to China while another would be dedicated to its Truck & Bus division. Other areas VW Group will focus include research and development, sales, and production. VW Group hopes the new management system will streamline the company, quickening the decision-making process.
“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 international 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 in the statement announcing the changes. “Herbert Diess is the right manager to do that. In realigning the Volkswagen brand, he has demonstrated to impressive effect the speed and rigor with which he can implement radical transformation processes. This accomplishment makes him predestined to fully implement our Strategy 2025 in the decisive years that are now to follow.”
Diess came to Volkswagen in mid-2015 after holding an executive position at BMW. He arrived at VW before the diesel emissions scandal broke, which is something the company has been trying to move past ever since.
Along with Diess, there were other changes in management at the company. Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, head of Procurement, is leaving the company. Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Board of Management at Porsche, will belong to the Group’s top governing body going forward. Gunnar Kilian, who was Secretary-General of the Volkswagen Group Works Council, is appointed to Group Board of Management for Human Resources.
Extensive revision of Volkswagen Group management structure decided
The Board of Management and Supervisory Board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft have resolved to extensively revise the Group’s management structure. Volkswagen is thus systematically continuing to transform its business and establishing even more efficient Group management in a phase of highly dynamic change in the Company and the entire automotive industry. In order to sustainably implement the new structure, there will be a number of changes on the Board of Management. Matthias Müller steps down as Chairman of the Board of Management by mutual agreement, effective immediately. At its meeting on Thursday, the Supervisory Board appointed Dr. Herbert Diess as his successor.
Chairman of the Supervisory Board Hans Dieter Pötsch expressly thanked Müller for his dedication: “Matthias Müller has done outstanding work for the Volkswagen Group. He assumed the chairmanship of the Board of Management in the fall of 2015 when the Company faced the greatest challenge in its history. 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 the thanks of the entire Company.”
The introduction of the brand groups Volume, Premium and Super Premium, along with the planned preparation for capital market readiness of Truck & Bus, create the basis for a more subsidiary leadership of the Group. The Chairmen of the Board of Management responsible for the brand groups will be taking on additional Group management roles. Following this reorganization, Herbert Diess will be responsible for Group Development and Research, Rupert Stadler for Group Sales, and Oliver Blume for Group Production.
Additional Group functions will be allocated according to the same principle. Due to the special significance of vehicle connectivity, Vehicle IT will be led by Herbert Diess himself; Company IT will be headed by Frank Witter. Procurement and Components are to be combined into one unit going forward.
The new structure streamlines Group management, systematically leverages synergies in the individual operating units and speeds up decision-making. “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 international automotive industry with innovativeness and profitability and to be instrumental in shaping tomorrow’s personal mobility with the strength of our Group brands. Herbert Diess is the right manager to do that. In realigning the Volkswagen brand, he has demonstrated to impressive effect the speed and rigor with which he can implement radical transformation processes. This accomplishment makes him predestined to fully implement our Strategy 2025 in the decisive years that are now to follow,” Pötsch says.
“The Volkswagen Group is a union of strong brands with great potential. Matthias Müller has laid the groundwork for our transformation. My most important task will now be to join with our management team and our Group workforce in consistently pursuing and pushing forward our evolution into a profitable, world-leading provider of sustainable mobility. In a phase of profound upheaval in the automotive industry, it is vital for Volkswagen to pick up speed and make an unmistakable mark in e-mobility, the digitalization of the automobile and transportation as well as new mobility services,” Diess says.
At its meeting today, the Supervisory Board also decided on two new appointments to the Group Board of Management. Dr. Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Board of Management at Porsche, will belong to the Group’s top governing body going forward.
In addition, Gunnar Kilian, who until now has served as Secretary-General of the Volkswagen Group Works Council, has been appointed the new member of the Group Board of Management for Human Resources. He takes over the post from Dr. Karlheinz Blessing, who served in the role from the beginning of 2016. Dr. Blessing will be leaving the Board of Management by mutual agreement, but remains available to the Company in a consultative capacity for the remaining duration of his employment contract. Pötsch thanked Blessing for his service: “Dr. Blessing has been instrumental in realigning the Group during the past two years. He also contributed with great dedication to the evolution of the VW brand as part of the Volkswagen brand’s Future Pact.
Dr. Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, head of Procurement, leaves the Company at his own request. “During the past two decades, Dr. Garcia Sanz has built up a cutting-edge Procurement department. His leadership of the diesel task force was instrumental in overcoming the diesel crisis. As Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the SEAT brand, he also made a significant contribution to reinforcing the brand,” said Pötsch in gratitude. Ralf Brandstätter, Board of Management member responsible for Procurement for the VW brand, will take on this additional role provisionally.