Volkswagen has appointed Herbert Diess as CEO

Randal Sanchez
April 13, 2018

Mueller had "signalled he was open to play a part in the changes" in conversations with supervisory board chief Hans Dieter Poetsch, the company said in a statement.

In the aftermath of the diesel-cheating scandal, Mr Mueller sought to overhaul Volkswagen's rigid top-down management structure, delegating more responsibility to its brand and regional chiefs.

"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.

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.

64-year-old Mr Mueller, always a reluctant CEO who had grown tired of the regular grillings by board members, responded during the talks by signalling he was prepared to step aside, they said.

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The 59-year-old Diess looks set to retain his responsibilities as head of the core VW passenger auto brand if he becomes the group's next CEO, the second source said. The move is part of an effort to reorganize the company to do business more efficiently, the company said.

Germany's Handelsblatt business publication reported, however, that Mueller would be replaced by Herbert Diess, head of the core Volkswagen brand.

But Diess, a lanky, cool-headed Bavarian, never got ruffled and ultimately secured a landmark deal that paved the way to cut as many as 30,000 jobs and save 3.7 billion euros ($4.6 billion). But instead of being squeezed out, he has been pushed upward, and has been made CEO. His successor is likely to be Gunnar Kilian, the current secretary general of VW's works council, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Francisco Garcia Sanz, head of procurement since 2001, was picked by the board in 2015 to oversee the Dieselgate cleanup - he has now left the company too. He and Oliver Blume, the 49-year-old head of the Porsche brand, will join the group's management board. He then took charge of development, but was ultimately passed over for the CEO job, when the Munich-based company picked Harald Krueger in December 2014.

The change doesn't come as much of a surprise, because the VW Group issued a statement on Tuesday saying it was in the process of reviewing its senior management structure, which it explicitly said could result in personnel changes.

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