Following reports earlier this week, Volkswagen has confirmed Matthias Müller is out as CEO and chairman of the company’s Board of Management.
The automaker says the decision to step down was “mutual” and will be effective immediately. As expected, the Supervisory Board appointed Dr. Herbert Diess as his successor.
In a statement, Supervisory Board chairman 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.” Pötsch went on to say Müller was able to “safely navigate Volkswagen” through the dieselgate scandal as well as initiate cultural change and a realignment of the group’s strategy. He went on to credit Müller for making the company “more robust than ever before” and said the former executive is “due the thanks of the entire company.”
Besides replacing Müller, Volkswagen AG plans to reorganize the group into six business areas and a special China region. There will be “Volume, Premium and Super Premium” groups and Diess will be responsible for group research and development. Likewise, Rupert Stadler will manage group sales while Porsche CEO Oliver Blume will oversee group production. Volkswagen says the new structure “streamlines group management, systematically leverages synergies in the individual operating units and speeds up decision-making.”
In a statement, Diess said the “The Volkswagen Group is a union of strong brands with great potential.” He went on to thank his predecessor and note “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 digitalization of the automobile and transportation as well as new mobility services.”
Blume was also appointed to the Board of Management along with Gunnar Kilian. Kilian will replace Karlheinz Blessing who is leaving as a result of a “mutual agreement.”