VW Group announces new global CEO, restructuring plans
One item on the minds of many VW dealers in the United States going into Friday’s board meeting of Volkswagen AG was whether or not the rumors that current U.S. VW chief executive officer Michael Horn would be leaving the company were true.
As it turns out, that’s not the case, as VW announced that the company will be restructuring in the U.S., with activities in the U.S., Mexico and Canada being consolidated as one new North American region with Winfried Vahland, formerly the chairman of the board of directors at Skoda, as the leader of the region. By taking on this role, Vahland becomes a member of the VW brand board of management.
At this time, Horn will remain as the president and chief executive officer of Volkswagen Group of America.
As for the global operations, Matthias Mueller, the chairman of Porsche AG, has been named the new CEO of Volkswagen AG, replacing former CEO Martin Winterkorn, who resigned Wednesday.
"My most urgent task is to win back trust for the Volkswagen Group – by leaving no stone unturned and with maximum transparency, as well as drawing the right conclusions from the current situation,” Mueller said. “Under my leadership, Volkswagen will do everything it can to develop and implement the most stringent compliance and governance standards in our industry. If we manage to achieve that then the Volkswagen Group with its innovative strength, its strong brands and above all its competent and highly motivated team has the opportunity to emerge from this crisis stronger than before."
In an announcement on Friday, VW also stated that its Supervisory Board recommended the immediate suspension of several of its employees during an investigation it has authorized its chairman to mandage for German and U.S. lawyers to "objectively investigate and fully clarify the manipulation of emissions data of diesel engines." The names and positions of the employees were not released.
"The test manipulations are a moral and political disaster for Volkswagen,” said Berthold Huber, the deputy chairman of the Supervisory Board. “The unlawful behavior of engineers and technicians involved in engine development shocked Volkswagen just as much as it shocked the public. We can only apologize and ask our customers, the public, the authorities and our investors to give us a chance to make amends."
The company also announced that Christian Klingler, formerly a member of the board of management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft with responsibility for sales and marketing and a member of the VW brand board of management with the same responsibilities, is leaving the company with immediate effect due to “long-term planned structural changes and as a result of difference with regard to business strategy” unrelated to recent events.
Juergen Stackmann, previously chairman of SEAT, will take over Klingler’s role as member of the VW brand board of management. Stackmann is succeeded by Luca de Meo, currently Audi AG board of management member for sales and marketing. These personnel changes will be effective as of October 1.
For the full listing of VW’s structural changes, you can check them out on the VW site here.