VW confirms Mueller for CEO; US head Horn survives initial purge
Confirming recent reports, Volkswagen has officially appointed Matthias Mueller to serve as its new chief executive.
Filling the spot vacated by Martin Winterkorn as the diesel emissions cheating scandal came to light, Mueller will simultaneously maintain his role as Porsche chairman until a suitable successor can be found.
“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,” he said in a statement. “Volkswagen will do everything it can to develop and implement the most stringent compliance and governance standards in our industry.”
Interestingly, the supervisory-board announcements did not explicitly mention the fate of Heinz-Jakob Neusser, Ulrich Hackenberg and Wolfgang Hatz, respective R&D bosses of VW, Audi and Porsche, all of whom are rumored to have been ousted.
The statements did confirm that Michael Horn will keep his job as president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, though a reorganization plan will merge the company’s USA, Mexico and Canada operations under the leadership of former Skoda chairman Winfried Vahland.
The company’s marketing and sales head, Christian Klingler, will be leaving the company due to “differences with regard to business strategy,” though his departure is claimed to be unrelated to the recent emissions fiasco.
Aside from the executive shakeup and planned corporate restructuring, VW Passenger Cars chief executive Herbert Diess claims the company is “working at full speed” on a technical solution to the emissions non-compliance issue. Rumors suggest a recall could reduce engine output and/or fuel efficiency for existing vehicles on the road, or require an expensive retrofit of a urea-injection system to affected vehicles, however VW has not yet confirmed specific details for any potential fixes.
“Our aim is to inform our customers as quickly as possible, so that their vehicles comply fully with regulations,” Diess added. “I assure you that Volkswagen will do everything humanly possible to win back the trust of our customers, the dealerships and the public.”