Volkswagen replaces CEO Mueller, announces new structure

Volkswagen New Boss Is Herbert Diess

The executive and supervisory boards "have resolved to extensively revise the group's management structure", VW said.

Diess answered questions at VW group headquarters in the German town of Wolfsburg, saying he will pool the company's 12 brands into three automotive groups and a truck business, while signalling that some businesses may be sold.

"Diess will get huge power", he stated.

For Volkswagen its the biggest overhaul since it became a multi-brand conglomerate under former chief executive Ferdinand Piech, a grandson of VW Beetle designer Ferdinand Porsche.

While Mueller brought VW's share price and profits back up to pre-crisis levels, observers say he made little progress in shaking up the firm's famously hierarchical and insular corporate culture, which some critics believe discouraged employees from speaking up about the diesel scam.

"This is all we could have asked for, and expect the market to take the news positively", Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst said in a note on Friday.

"At its meeting on Thursday, the supervisory board appointed Herbert Diess as his successor".

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This was not the only shift in the Volkswagen: Porsche CEO Oliver bloom joined the Board of governors of the concern and the head of Audi, Rupert Stadler will now be responsible for global sales group. Finally, another group will focus on research and development, sales and production.

Volkswagen has replaced its chief executive with Herbert Diess, who takes on responsibility for the entire company after overseeing the VW brand. The company makes mass-market cars under the Volkswagen, SEAT and Skoda brands, luxury cars under the Audi nameplate and very high-priced vehicles under the Lamborghini and Bentley brands.

Earlier Friday, Diess told reporters that he would "review all options" when looking at different assets in VW's portfolio. Whether these businesses will be invested in or sold off remains to be seen, Diess said.

"Bundling brands in groups greatly helps to increase synergies", said Bankhaus Metzler analyst Juergen Pieper.

Diess moved over from BMW in 2015 shortly before the Dieselgate scandal broke.

"We believe we can not control and manage this century, but our group activities will be co-ordinated and our political relationships will be well maintained", said Diess, when asked how the company plans to stay ahead of a constantly evolving auto industry. Europe's largest automotive group is poised to replace group chief executive Matthias Mueller this week with Diess, a cost-cutter hired in 2015 from BMW as it seeks fresh impetus for its recovery from an emissions scandal. "But, as is well known, that issue was laid to rest a long time ago".

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