Volkswagen names new CEO

Various sources within Germany have been reporting in recent days that Volkswagen is now mulling the replacement of CEO Matthias Mueller with the head of the VW brand, Herbert Diess.

Senior works council members a year ago had their salaries cut and bonuses suspended after public prosecutors investigated alleged overpayments at the carmaker, a move that labor leaders are blaming on Blessing, one source said.

Reuters reports that Diess and Mueller agreed to guarantee VW's manufacturing jobs in Germany until 2025 in order to get approval from the unions for a plan to turn the carmaker into a mass producer of electric cars.

Mueller, who has been in the top job for less than three years, took over the role as public outrage peaked over the company's diesel emissions scandal.

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The move comes after Europe's largest automaker has been hampered by infighting among its powerful stakeholders, which include the Porsche and Piech families, the German state of Lower Saxony, and labour leaders.

Since the scandal broke in September, 2015, numerous company's top executives have been tossed overboard. Amid opposition from labor leaders, Mueller failed to sell motorbike maker Ducati past year. Excessive spending and poor budget discipline were eroding profit margins even before the carmaker's diesel-emissions scandal erupted in September 2015. "Unions and Lower Saxony together have the power to block his appointment".

Thursday's supervisory board meeting is also expected to start preparations for a stock market listing of the trucks and bus division, sources have said.

"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.

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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.

Diess is due to outline the group's new leadership structure in front of the supervisory board on Friday, two sources said.

"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.

VW brand chief Herbert Diess presented the I.D. Buzz Concept vehicle in Detroit on Monday.

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  • Kelly Blake