Volkswagen names new CEO in sudden shift

German auto giant Volkswagen on Thursday named Herbert Diess as its new chief executive, replacing Matthias Mueller, as the one-time paragon of German industry seeks to turn the page on the "dieselgate" emissions scandal that has dogged it since 2015.

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. Mr Mueller had signalled his "general willingness to contribute to the changes", the statement read, and that the board was considering changes that included the position of the CEO.

A Volkswagen spokesman declined to comment.

When rival Harald Krüger was given the top job in 2014, Diess clearly felt like there was nowhere else for him to go - a move to head up the Volkswagen brand followed in summer 2015. As the executive overseeing VW's biggest unit, he has routinely butted heads with labour leaders while seeking to cut costs and simplify the carmaker's byzantine structure.

While the timing of the handover seems somewhat counterintuitive - VW is financially on the mend and has defended its status as the industry No. 1 - Mueller had at times shown signs of fatigue.

Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch is in talks about changing the structure with fellow supervisory board members and members of the management board, Volkswagen said.

It's perhaps Herbert Diess's most attractive trait to the Volkswagen supervisory board at the moment that he's no single-company career man like you'll find in other German carmaker board rooms.

After-tax profit rose to 11.6 billion euros ($14.3 billion) a year ago, on sales of 230.6 billion euros.

The world's largest automaker is also preparing its truck and bus division for a potential listing. Müller had previously served as the CEO of Porsche since July 2010.

"The range of tasks at group level, with its many brands, legal risks and political influence, makes the new assignment incomparably more complex", Speich said, adding that there is no guarantee reforms would become easier to push through.

Including Mr Mueller, VW's management board totals nine people, with responsibilities ranging from purchasing to legal affairs to financing and human resources.

And the CEO of subsidiary Porsche, Oliver Blume, will join the VW board.

Minnesota will use 20 percent of the money to help pay for cleaner school buses, 35 percent for cleaner heavy duty on-road vehicles like trucks, 15 percent for cleaner off-road heavy equipment, 15 percent for buying new heavy duty electric vehicles and 15 percent for new electric vehicle charging stations. Now, he's poised to take VW's top job.


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