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Supervisory Board Appoints Diess as Group CEO

Pötsch commends the tempo and consistency of the new CEO in the reorganization of the brand. In future, the brand will belong to the new "Volume" brand group.

Previously the CEO of the Volkswagen brand, Herbert Diess is now the new Group CEO and successor of Matthias Müller. The 59-year-old will continue to manage the Volkswagen core brand in parallel, supported by a Chief Operating Officer (COO). Diess and Chairman of the Supervisory Board Hans Dieter Pötsch announced this in front of journalists at the brand tower in Wolfsburg on Friday.

Diess was appointed as the new Group CEO by the supervisory board on Thursday. "During the transformation process of the Volkswagen brand, he has demonstrated quite impressively the tempo and consistency with which he is able to implement profound changes. This ability has predestined him for the mandate to finish implementing our Strategy 2025 in the crucial years ahead," said Pötsch, explaining the decision. Diess came to Volkswagen from BMW in mid-2015. Since then, he has been the CEO of the core brand. He stressed, "I appreciate the responsibility I have been given and look forward to facing this new challenge together with the brands and our employees."

"We have a great team in the Volkswagen brand."

The goal of the 11th CEO in the history of the Volkswagen Group is to form a streamlined corporate group with strong brands. This will entail the introduction of the "Volume," "Premium" and "Super Premium" brand groups and preparing the "Truck & Bus" segment to operate on the capital market. The executives responsible for the brand groups will also take on other management activities in the Group. The Volkswagen brand belongs to the "Volume" brand group, which also includes Skoda and Seat.

The position of COO for the brand will be newly created and filled as soon as possible, announced Pötsch. The COO will serve as Diess’ right hand and will be responsible for day-to-day operational activities. "This will ensure that the new management model functions efficiently," remarked the chairman of the supervisory board. The COO will be selected from within Volkswagen. "We have enough personnel in management. We expect the position to be filled internally," said Diess and gave the entire workforce his renewed praise: "We have a great team in the Volkswagen brand. A COO will help many things to function without my assistance."

Why did the management board and supervisory board decide on this comprehensive revision of the management structure? "Following the very successful initial phase of our reorganization, the Volkswagen Group is giving its transformation a further push forward. In doing so, we are drawing on the experience of the last two-and-a-half years in order to make structures and processes in the company sustainable, profitable and competitive," explained Chairman of the Supervisory Board Pötsch, adding, "We are confident. This will equip us to secure our leading position in the automotive industry for the long-term future. And we are mobilizing the full strength of our corporate brands in designing the automotive mobility of tomorrow."

Resume of
Herbert Diess

The Group’s new CEO was born in Munich and is 59 years old. He holds Austrian citizenship.

1977

Diess began a program of study in automotive engineering at Munich University of Applied Sciences.

1978

Diess started studying general mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Munich. In 1983, he graduated as a qualified engineer.

1984

Diess started working for TU Munich as an academic employee, where he acquired his doctorate in assembly automation in 1987. From 1988, he was in charge of Assembly Automation at the institute.

1989

Diess started his career at Bosch in Stuttgart. In 1990, he was appointed Head of Planning and Maintenance at the Treto plant in Spain. From 1993, he held the post of Technical Director there.

1996

Diess transferred to BMW in Munich and took on the management of Long-Term and Structural Planning.

1997

He was in charge of Process Consulting. He then went to England. There, he became Plant Manager in Birmingham in 1999, and, one year later, transferred to become Plant Manager in Oxford. In 2003, Diess became the CEO of BMW Motorrad (BMW’s motorcycle brand).

2007

He was appointed to the management board of BMW for the Purchasing and Supplier Network division. In 2012, he became Head of Development.

2015

Diess became the CEO of the Volkswagen brand and a member of the management board for the Volkswagen Group.

Press Comments

"Diess could soon become the Mr. Electric of the global automotive industry."

Wirtschaftswoche

"Diess is known for his keen ambition, his originality, and his expertise. Good qualifications for a fresh start."

Braunschweiger Zeitung

"Diess is the recognized doer who can make a difference in the company."

Handelsblatt

"The multi-brand group is also reforming its leadership structure in order to overcome the challenges facing the industry – the switch to electric cars, self-driving cars, and mobility services – more quickly."

Reuters

"Diess is a man of action, a communicator. He has the toughness that is needed. He still needs to prove whether he is enough of a diplomat and can change the culture."

Automobilwoche

"With the in-depth rearrangement of the Group structure, the new Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess aims to accelerate the giant automaker’s decisions."

dpa

"Diess wants a faster tempo, but not a revolution. He could be granted much more power than his predecessor."

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Letter to employees

After his appointment as the Group's new CEO, Herbert Diess addressed his colleagues in a letter. We have documented this in excerpts.

Dear Colleagues,

I had only been part of the Volkswagen family for a few months when the diesel crisis broke out and this proud and successful company suffered a severe setback. […]

We have paved the way for that – as well as for a lean Group, leading strong brands – with the revision of our management/Group structure, which was adopted by the Supervisory Board. By working in new brand groups and units, we will become more effective and efficient, and establish even closer ties to our customers. This new, more compact structure will also enable us to make and implement decisions more quickly. […]

Our team spirit in the face of the crisis, the vigorous efforts to overcome it and the determination with which the company tackles difficult challenges – all this has served time and again to strengthen my conviction that Volkswagen is a strong company with a great team. […]

In the coming weeks, we will channel all our energies into fleshing out the details. We will keep you informed and significantly increase internal communications. That is important to me. After all, we can't do this without you, our workforce. Keep up your efforts! Give it your all! By doing so, you play a key role in our ongoing ability to define mobility in the future and inspire our customers. […]

My most important task in my new role will be to join with our brands and with you, our workforce, in consistently pursuing and pushing forward our evolution into a profitable, world-leading provider of sustainable mobility. […]

I am convinced that, based on our strategy, our financial strength and the support of all of you, the best is yet to come for our company. It is an honor for me to be a part of shaping the future of the Volkswagen Group in my new role. I look forward to working together with you and ask for your support as we embark on this journey.

Sincerely,
Herbert Diess

Gunnar Kilian: New Chief Human Resources Officer

Kilian then led a parliamentary office in the German Bundestag in 2003, and returned to Volkswagen in 2006, where he assumed the role of Press Spokesman for the Group works council. In 2012 he worked in the Salzburg office of the chairman of Volkswagen AG’s supervisory board, before returning to Wolfsburg in 2013, when he took the position of General Secretary and Managing Director of the Group Works Council.

The supervisory board has appointed Gunnar Kilian a member of the executive board of Volkswagen AG for "HR and Organization." The 43-year-old will succeed Karlheinz Blessing, who has left the company by mutual agreement but will remain available as a consultant for the duration of his service contract.

Kilian has been volunteeringfor many years as Chairmanof the Board of theVolkswagen Employee Foundation and as a member of the board of trustees of the International Youth Meeting Center in Auschwitz.

Kilian was born on January 31, 1975 in Westerland on the island of Sylt in Germany. He has worked for the Volkswagen Group since 2000. He began his professional career in 1995 as a newspaper intern, followed by holding positions first as an editor and then as a public relations officer at - Volkswagen AG.

Additional details

  • The executives responsible for the brand groups "Volume," "Premium," and "Super Premium" will also take on other Group management activities. Herbert Diess is responsible for Group research and development, as well as vehicle IT. Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler is responsible for Group distribution and Oliver Blume for Group production. The Porsche CEO was newly appointed to the Group executive board.
  • Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, who is responsible for procurement at the Group level, is leaving the company at his own request. Ralf Brandstätter, Procurement Chairman of the Volkswagen brand, will also take over this position on a temporary basis.
  • Company IT will be led by Group CFO Frank Witter.

Pötsch thanks Müller

The former CEO believes the company is well positioned for the future.

Matthias Müller headed the Volkswagen Group for two-and-a-half years. In a farewell letter, the 64-year-old thanked the executive board, his team, and the staff. "I really enjoyed working with you. Our many encounters and open discussions have always motivated me the most." Müller emphasized that the Volkswagen Group is well positioned for the next phase of the transformation that is now beginning.

Chairman of the Supervisory Board Hans Dieter Pötsch also emphasized Müller’s merits in front of journalists in Wolfsburg on Friday. The former Group CEO has done outstanding work for the company, accomplishing much more than just steering Volkswagen safely and with flying colors through an extremely difficult period. "He has also set the necessary cultural change in motion and made sure, with great personal dedication, that the Volkswagen Group has not only stayed on track, but is now more operationally and strategically robust than ever before," said Pötsch.