Published: Wed, April 11, 2018
Tech | By Constance Martin

Volkswagen says considering board 'changes', may name new CEO

Volkswagen says considering board 'changes', may name new CEO

Karlheinz Blessing, member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG with responsibility for "Human Resources and Organization" attends Volkswagen AG annual news conference in Wolfsburg, Germany, April 28, 2016.

The German carmaker said on Tuesday it was considering a change in leadership as part of a broader management overhaul, but gave few details. No further information was made available with regards to the precise fate of acting CEO Matthias Mueller.

The company noted that Matthias Müller showed his general willingness to contribute to the changes.

Now, Mueller may be at risk of losing his seat at the head of the table, with ex-BMW exec and current VW cost-cutting wunderkind Herbert Diess ready to step in and lead the brand back to its former glory, according to a report by Reuters.

Shares in Volkswagen leapt on the news, adding as much as five percent before falling back slightly to gain 4.5 percent on the day, at 171.58 euros ($211.62) by close of trade in Frankfurt.

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The contract of Mueller, 64, who took the reins at VW a week after the "dieselgate" scandal broke in September 2015, runs out in 2020.

However, Volkswagen refused City AM's request to confirm whether Muller was resigning, and whether he would be replaced by Diess.

The move comes after Europe's largest automaker has been hampered by infighting among its powerful stakeholders, which include the Porsche and Piech families, the German state of Lower Saxony, and labour leaders.

Its profit margin climbed to 7.4% of sales in 2017 from 6% in 2015, when the crisis hit. Its complex structure has extended to its main shareholder, Porsche Automobil Holding SE, where Volkswagen's chairman serves as the CEO and Mueller also serves as a top executive. The supervisory board will reportedly vote on the change in top leadership at a meeting on Friday.

Volkswagen declined to comment on whether the board was poised to name Diess as new CEO. Audi, the VW brand, the trucks division, and the group's Chinese operations also have representatives on Volkswagen's top executive body.

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