Published: Wed, April 11, 2018
Finance | By Cynthia Curry

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

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

Europe's largest vehicle maker is poised to replace Mueller this week with VW brand chief Herbert Diess, seeking to inject fresh impetus to its recovery from an emissions scandal. The 64-year-old Mueller has two years left on his current contract.

Germany's dpa news agency, Handelsblatt business publication and national daily newspaper Bild reported that Mueller would be replaced by Diess, a former BMW executive who joined Volkswagen in 2015.

Without citing its sources, Spiegel said Karlheinz Blessing, who was appointed management board member with responsibility for human resources on January 1, 2016, would be replaced by Gunnar Kilian, secretary general of VW's works council.

VW shares got an additional boost from the reports that it is planning on replacing Mueller. Previous executives including Bernd Pischetsrieder and Wolfgang Bernhard struggled to push through such reforms.

Diess, 59, has focused his reforms at the VW brand on procurement and process management to bring its cost structure and efficiency closer to that of rival Toyota 7203.T , but stopped short of making sweeping job cuts.

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VW could move as soon as Friday to name Herbert Diess, head of its Volkswagen brand, as its new leader.

Despite facing billions in fines, vehicle refits and lawsuits relating to its "dieselgate" scandal, Volkswagen's operating results have been robust, with sales and profit hitting record highs a year ago. Other potential CEO candidates include Volkswagen's trucks chief and Daimler veteran Andreas Renschler. No further information was made available with regards to the precise fate of acting CEO Matthias Mueller.

Supervisory board chief Hans Dieter Poetsch had been "speaking with different members of the supervisory and executive boards" about moving or replacing some of them, it went on, adding that Mueller "signalled he was open to play a part in the changes".

The company said in its statement on Tuesday that it was considering changes to its complicated management structure. 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.

VW and the works council declined comment.

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