Volkswagen has announced that Herbert Diess will take over from Matthias Mueller as chief executive.
Diess is a former BMW executive who has overseen the core Volkswagen brand since 2015.
He will head up the management board that reports to the group’s board of directors and take charge of vehicle development and research as well as vehicle-related information technology.
Several other executives were replaced as VW revealed a new management structure it says will enable faster decision making at a time when autonomous and electric cars are starting to transform the industry.
The changes come as Volkswagen and other conventional car manufacturers compete with industry newcomers such as Waymo and Uber for the burgeoning autonomous taxis and car-sharing services market, where vehicle ownership is less of a passenger priority.
The auto giant is looking to slim down and reorganise the way its 12 brands are managed.
The Volkswagen empire owns the Ducati motorbike brand, Scania buses and trucks, passenger car brands including Skoda, SEAT and Audi, as well as the Bentley, Porsche and Lamborghini luxury marques.
The carmaker said it will create six new business areas and a special portfolio for China, its largest market. It will also split its brands into three new vehicle groups: value, premium and super-premium.
Analysts cheered Mr Diess’ appointment. “Diess is a man of action, he is the most plausible choice at VW to lead the group into the next phase of its transformation,” said Nord LB analyst Frank Schwope, who has a buy rating on Volkswagen.
Board chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said the departing Mr Mueller had done “outstanding work” at a time when the company “faced the greatest challenge in its history”.
Volkswagen replaced Mr Mueller after he failed to refocus the group’s portfolio of car brands and transform the company into a leader in cleaner cars after the diesel emissions scandal of 2015.
Mr Mueller, a former boss at Porsche, took over as VW CEO unexpectedly in September 2015 after Martin Winterkorn resigned over the scandal.
Under his leadership in 2017, the auto group went on to turn in record annual sales of €230.7bn and pre-tax profits almost doubled at €13.9bn. The company sold 10.74 million vehicles in the year.
Separately, VW said it is preparing its truck and bus division for the capital markets, a step that could include selling shares in the division.
From – SkyNews