Saturday, 23 March, 2019

New Volkswagen CEO vows to speed up corporate reforms

13 Apr 2018, 21:26 ( 11 Months ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
File Photo Xinhua

Herbert Diess, the new chief executive officer (CEO) of Volkswagen, announced on Friday that he will speed up an ongoing process of far-reaching corporate reform at the German carmaker.

During his first speech as CEO, Diess told press that his goal was the "continued development" of the Wolfsburg-based automotive giant. He emphasized that he is not about to start a "revolution" but instead hereby hope to build on initiatives already launched under his predecessor Matthias Mueller.

"Our aim is to make Volkswagen an industry leader with regards to profitability, innovation and sustainability," Diess said. In the future, management would be able to make decisions more quickly, not least thanks to a new division of labor in the corporation.

Diess took the reins of Volkswagen following an emergency supervisory board meeting which was convened in reaction to wild media speculation over a looming personnel shake-up. The 60-year-old Austrian was formerly the director of the company flagship brand Volkswagen.

Speaking on Friday, Diess praised his predecessor Mueller for successfully steering Volkswagen through the "dieselgate" scandal. "Volkswagen is in a more robust operative and strategic position than ever," board chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch seconded.

The appointment of Diess as CEO coincides with the most significant corporate restructuring in Volkswagen's history. The company confirmed on Friday that, moving forward, the group will be divided into six independent units, with all China-related business being led as a division of its own.

A "volume group" will combine the mass-appeal brands Volkswagen, Skoda and Seat, alongside a "super-premium group" including Porsche, Bugatti, Bentley and Lamborghini, and a "premium group" constituted by Audi.

Additionally, a "commercial utility holding" encompassing truck and bus production (MAN, Scania) will be created and prepared for an initial public offering (IPO).

Diess will simultaneously act as corporate CEO, head of research & development, and head of the volume group, but will receive assistance from a yet-to-be-appointed operative manager to deal with day-to-day demands. Acting Audi chief Rupert Stadler will assume responsibility for the premium group and global sales, while Porsche director Oliver Blume directs the super premium group as well as general production.

The influential board member and head of the Volkswagen workers' council Bernd Osterloh noted in a letter to staff that the executive personnel reshuffle had the "full support" of labor representatives.