Germany’s Volkswagen has announced the appointment of Herbert Diess as its new chief executive officer.

Diess replaces Matthias Müller, who stepped down effective 12 April, 2018.

Müller’s departure was by “mutual agreement”, Volkswagen said in a statement.

The change in leadership is in line with the automotive maker's efforts to introduce extensive revisions to its management structure, in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal, which has so far cost the company around $30bn.

 

Commenting on Müller’s departure, chairman of Volkswagen’s supervisory board Hans Dieter Pötsch said: “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 [...] 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.”

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According to Volkswagen, the introduction of its Volume, Premium, and Super Premium brand groups, along with its planned preparation for capital market readiness of Truck & Bus, will serve as the foundation of a “more subsidiary leadership of the group”.

The chairmen of the management board responsible for the brand groups will take on additional group management roles, the manufacturer revealed, saying that this reorganisation will mean that Diess will be responsible for group development and research, Rupert Stadler for group sales, and Oliver Blume for group production.

Diess will also be leading vehicle IT, while Frank Witter will head company IT. The previously separate units of procurement and components have been combined into one unit.

“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 Pötsch.

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“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 commented: “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 digitalisation of the automobile and transportation, as well as new mobility services.”

The company’s supervisory board also announced two new appointments to its group board of management: Blume, management board chairman at Porsche, and Gunnar Kilian, who until recently served as secretary-general of the Volkswagen Group Works Council.

Blume is now part of the group’s top governing body, while Kilian has been named a new addition to the group management board for human resources.

Kilian took over the post from Karlheinz Blessing, who held the post from the beginning of 2016. Blessing will remain available to the company in a consultative capacity for the remaining duration of his employment contract, Volkswagen noted in its statement.

Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, head of procurement, has also decided to leave the company, the manufacturer added.