VW appoints Herbert Diess as CEO, creates new divisions

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He apologized for the scandal and launched what was described as an effort to make the company's management more open to discussion and less top-down, factors that may have abetted the emissions cheating.

CEO Matthias Mueller will relinquish his post and will be succeeded by Herbert Diess, who had been serving as CEO of the VW brand and has gained a reputation for cost-cutting at the sprawling company.

Herbert Diess, chief of the Volkswagen brand, was named to take over as CEO of the company as a whole. Excessive spending and poor budget discipline were eroding profit margins even before the carmaker's diesel-emissions scandal erupted in September 2015.

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If Mueller did such a good job under hard circumstances, why change horses in midstream? In fact, its Q1 stats for 2018 are the best in company history. Yet, he was present in the room on the fateful day when the company's top managers were informed in detail about the depth and breadth of the cheating scandal.

Volkswagen did not respond immediately when contacted about the report. Amid opposition from labor leaders, Mueller failed to sell motorbike maker Ducati a year ago.

Diess is a former BMW executive who since 2015 has headed the core Volkswagen brand. "Unions and Lower Saxony together have the power to block his appointment".

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The company said it was contemplating a management reshuffle and reassigning responsibilities among executives that "could include a change in the position of the chairman of the board of management", the German term for CEO. The company sold a record 10.74 million vehicles, making it the world's largest carmaker, though the title is disputed by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, which sold 10.6 million and says Volkswagen is counting trucks that aren't cars.

The source noted, however, that Diess still wanted to nominate an "operative director on the brand-level to cover for him in the day-to-day business".

It's hard to get a clear sense of the motives of such a move (if it goes through), or of the politics driving them. The manufacturer will be grouped into six business areas, with the truck and bus division to be prepared for a potential stand-alone stock listing.

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On Wednesday four sources close to the company told Reuters that the supervisory board would seek to bring works council executive Gunnar Kilian onto the company's management board to try to secure backing for Diess and his plans.