VW expected to place Herbert Diess in the driving seat

11 April, 2018, 17:02 | Author: Kathy Ellis
  • As Diesel Scandal Fades, VW Is Planning to Replace Its CEO

Volkswagen's boss Matthias Mueller could be set to depart after the German auto giant said it was mulling a reshuffe of its top ranks, with VW brand chief Herbet Diess tipped as his successor. The 64-year-old Mueller has two years left on his current contract.

The news emerged at the same time as speculation surrounding the company's executive leadership, with Volkswagen admitting that it's considering changes at the top in a short statement released on Tuesday.

But the persistent tug of war between its controlling families, unions and other stakeholders have made it hard to drive through structural changes that investors have said are key to the company fulfilling its potential.

Supervisory board chief Hans Dieter Poetsch had been "speaking with different members of the supervisory and executive boards" about moving or replacing some of them, it went on, adding that Mueller "signalled he was open to play a part in the changes".

Mueller's possible replacement will likely face similar challenges to get Volkswagen's stakeholders to unite.

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"If Diess is confirmed as the successor, VW shares will extend their gains", Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst said, who has an "outperform" rating on the stock.

While Mueller is a lifelong VW veteran, at times he cut an uneasy figure as CEO, which required him to manage the often contradictory demands of angry auto owners, disgruntled investors, well organized workers, and state officials with their own political agendas.

The move would be a major concession by management to worker representatives, potentially handing labour leaders insight into management plans for investments and cost cutting plans. Previous executives including Bernd Pischetsrieder and Wolfgang Bernhard struggled to push through such reforms.

According to German newspaper Handelsblatt, which first reported the shakeup, Muller is to be replaced by Herbert Diess, who now heads up the Volkswagen brand.

Volkswagen is expected to make a final decision regarding the future of its top executive in Matthias Muller by the end of the week amidst the company's costly diesel emissions scandal. A veteran of the company, he had previously served as head of Porsche. The company declined to comment further.

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