Now this is awkward: Winfried Vahland, the newly-appointed CEO of VW Group’s North America Region (NAR), has decided to leave the company before taking up his new role.
“After 25 years of successful work in Volkswagen Group, most recently as Chairman of Skoda, Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland is leaving the company at his own request. Prof. Vahland will therefore not be taking up the position of overall responsibility for the North American Region (NAR),” Skoda said in a statement.
Vahland was supposed to remain at Skoda until November 1, when he should have begun his activity at VW’s North American unit.
The company did not offer details about the reasons behind Vahland’s decision, blaming the exit on “differing views on the organization of the new Group region.” However, the statement makes it clear that “this decision is expressly not related to current events on the issue of diesel engines.”
This likely means there were things Vahland and VW did not agree upon regarding the organization of the North American Region, which will include Canada, Mexico and the United States as a separate unit within the group.
“In the last 25 years, Prof. Vahland made a great contribution to the company. We respect his decision and thank him for his exceptional performance,” said VW Group CEO, Matthias Müller.
Winfried Vahland began working for the Volkswagen Group in 1990. After holding several key positions at home and abroad, he took over Group responsibility as President and CEO of Volkswagen in China in 2005 and had a significant contribution to Volkswagen’s success in China. He began heading Skoda in 2010 and has since implemented the largest growth and model campaign in the Czech automaker’s history, contributing to Skoda’s rise as a successful international high-volume brand.