Published: Sun, April 15, 2018
Money | By Wilma Wheeler

Volkswagen Contemplates Changing CEO in Reshuffle

Volkswagen Contemplates Changing CEO in Reshuffle

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.

The company said in a statement that it would group all its brands and management functions into six broad business areas plus China.

It is not clear to what extent any restructuring plans for the Volkswagen Group - which includes the VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda brands - will be decided at the board meeting, expected to start at 1500 GMT and last late into the night.

Human resources chief Karlheinz Blessing is also set to go. VW said it would hold a press conference in Wolfsburg on Friday at 8.30am BST.

Reuters reported that the proposed change comes as current VW Group CEO Mathias Muller is about to be replaced by Herbert Diess in a move created to speed up reform and restructuring in the vast company. He then joined BMW, working his way up to board level via a three-year stint running the company's Oxford plant.

Mueller, who formerly headed Porsche, took over as CEO unexpectedly in September 2015 when Martin Winterkorn resigned over the company's scandal over cars rigged to cheat on emissions tests. It has promised more than 80 new electric and plug-in hybrid models by 2025.

The Volkswagen empire owns the Ducati motorbike brand, Scania buses and trucks, passenger auto brands including Skoda, SEAT and Audi, as well as the Bentley, Porsche and Lamborghini luxury marques.

But he has himself landed in prosecutors' sights over suspicions he may have known about the cheating before it became public and failed in his duty to inform investors.

That plan comes as rivals, including Fiat Chrysler and Daimler, consider spin-offs or legally separate divisions to boost their share prices and raise cash to fund development of electric and self-driving cars.

"It's right for VW to look in a new direction", judged analyst Juergen Pieper of Metzler bank.

Breeze Motor Group is relocating its Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle Service Centre in Portsmouth as the business expands.

According to the settlement, the VW scandal resulted in 600 more tons of NOx being emitted into Minnesota's air than should have been possible under emissions regulations.

"Diess has no problem making enemies", the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily wrote, recounting how the "tough-as-nails" executive drove a hard bargain with suppliers as head of purchasing at BMW.

Volkswagen on Tuesday said Mr Mueller had expressed his general willingness to participate in a management overhaul, and it was still to be determined whether efforts to develop a new leadership structure would leave him in place.

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