Last Friday, Volkswagen AG held a major and important board meeting specifically to discuss the fate of Volkswagen’s upper management, following the resignation of their former CEO, Martin Winterkorn, following the controversial “dieselgate” situation.
Taking his place officially as a result of this board meeting is now former Porsche AG’s boss, Matthias Muller. His contract agreement is set to have him lead the brand until February 2020, until a more long-term CEO can be found.
This is just the surface of Volkswagen AG’s major supervisory shake-up and reorganization as the People’s Car conglomerate plans to restructure its own entire management model beginning in 2016.
In addition to the corporate restructuring, Volkswagen’s also shifting around the classifications for its portfolios, such as categorizing Porsche, Bugatti, and above all, Bentley as the company’s “sports car and mid-engine” brands, even though Bentley has no mid-engined cars in its lineup.
Additionally, Volkswagen pointed out other key differences with their future such as holding a higher regard to regional demands in terms of production, which can have a profound effect on future products and who gets what, in specific markets.
A lot is happening over at Wolfsburg, so it’ll certainly be interesting to see what happens with their future line of cars.
Matthias Müller appointed CEO of the Volkswagen Group
Müller remains Chairman of Porsche AG until a successor has been found
Matthias Müller (62) has been appointed CEO of Volkswagen AG with immediate effect. This was decided by the Supervisory Board at its meeting in Wolfsburg today (Friday). Müller is currently Chairman of Porsche AG in Stuttgart. He will continue in this function until a successor has been found.
The interim Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, Berthold Huber, underscored: “Matthias Müller is a person of great strategic, entrepreneurial and social competence. He knows the Group and its brands well and can immediately engage in his new task with full energy. We expressly value his critical and constructive approach.”
Bernd Osterloh, Chairman of the Group Works Council, commented: “When it comes to leadership appointments the Volkswagen Group does not need hasty decisions. We know and value Matthias Müller for his determination and decisiveness. He does not work on his own, rather he is a team player. That is what Volkswagen needs now.”
Matthias Müller said: “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. 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.”
Matthias Müller was born in Chemnitz (Saxony) on June 9, 1953. He completed his high school education in Ingolstadt followed by an apprenticeship as a toolmaker with AUDI AG. He then studied computer science at Munich University of Applied Sciences. After obtaining his master’s degree in computer science, Müller resumed his career with AUDI AG in Ingolstadt in 1978, becoming Head of the Systems Analysis Division in 1984 and Head of Project Management for the Audi A3 in 1993. He assumed responsibility for Product Management at Audi AG, SEAT and Lamborghini in 1995.
Müller moved to Wolfsburg as Head of Product Management of the Volkswagen Group and the Volkswagen brand in 2007 and also became a General Representative of the Volkswagen Group. He has been Chairman of the Executive Board of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG and a member of the Executive Board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE since 2010. In his function as Chairman of the Executive Board of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Müller was appointed member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG effective March 1, 2015.
Matthias Müller’s current contract as a Board member of Volkswagen AG will continue to apply in his new function as CEO. This contract runs until the end of February 2020. Matthias Müller succeeds Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, who offered his resignation on Wednesday.
The Volkswagen Group is restructuring: Supervisory Board passes resolutions for new organization
Brands and regions to be strengthened
Vahland moves from Škoda to the Volkswagen brand Board of Management
De Meo, Maier and Stackmann in new functions
Board Member for Sales Klingler leaves the Group
Contract with Board member for Procurement Garcia Sanz extended
The Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG approved a new management structure for the Group and the brands as well as for the North America region today (Friday) in Wolfsburg. The interim Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Berthold Huber, commented: “The new structure strengthens the brands and regions, gives the Group Board of Management the necessary leeway for strategy and steering within the company, and lays a focus on the targeted development of future-oriented fields.”
Details of major changes:
Reorganization of the North America region / Successor Prof. Vahland
The Supervisory Board decided on the reorganization of the Group’s activities in North America. The markets in the USA, Mexico, and Canada will be combined and significantly strengthened to form a new North America region. Effective November 1, the Group’s activities in the region will be led by Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland (58), formerly Chairman of the Board of Directors at Škoda, who in this new role becomes a member of the Volkswagen brand Board of Management. Prof. Vahland’s successor as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Škoda will be Bernhard Maier (55), until now Board Member for Sales and Marketing of Porsche AG. Michael Horn (52) remains President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.
Porsche brand group with Bentley and Bugatti
At Group level the management structure will be oriented even more systematically to the modular toolkits. These toolkits feature standardized technical components for each automotive vehicle segment (volume, premium, sport and commercial vehicles). Consequently, a Porsche brand group with Bentley and Bugatti will be established for the sportscar and mid-engine toolkit. The toolkit strategy will come under the even closer guidance of the Group CEO; a separate department will be set up for this purpose. The Audi brand group with Lamborghini and Ducati will be continued as will the Truck Holding, and the Power Engineering and Financial Services business lines. The volume brands Volkswagen (with principal responsibility for the modular transverse toolkit), SEAT, and Škoda will be represented by one member each in the Group Board of Management.
New Group functions for efficiency and future-oriented fields
Group functions will concentrate more closely on efficiency and future-oriented fields; organizational units, for example for Group product strategy, new business fields, cooperations and holdings, connected car activities, and CO2 steering, will therefore be set up. According to Huber, “new, strong Group functions, such as for standardization and harmonized production processes, will lay the timely foundations for efficient decision-making. We will become faster and more agile.” Furthermore, a Chief Technology Officer will analyze and, if necessary, co-steer technical developments throughout the Group as mandated by the Group Board of Management.
Upgrading of brands and regions
At the same time, existing corporate bodies, structures and processes will be streamlined at Group level, in particular by strengthening the brands and regional accountability. To that end the Volkswagen brand will introduce a management structure with four regions, each led by a local CEO with a direct reporting line to the brand Chairman, Herbert Diess.
Streamlining the Group Board of Management
The production department at Group level, until now led by Thomas Ulbrich in an interim capacity, will be abolished with immediate effect. This is one consequence of delegating responsibility to the brands and regions. Berthold Huber commented: “Going forward, the brands and regions will also have greater independence with regard to production. So it follows that they should also hold the responsibility for these activities.”
The interim Supervisory Board Chairman emphasized that “one key point is that we are scaling back complexity in the Group. In recent weeks, we have already undertaken important steps such as separating Group and brand functions.” He said the developments of the last few days had underscored the urgency of this project: “We will not lose any time. The new management model will be implemented at the beginning of 2016.” This would bring the Board greater freedom to address urgent issues concerning Group strategy, development and steering.
Further Board of Management changes
The Supervisory Board extended the contract with Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz (58), Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft with responsibility for Procurement, by five years.
Christian Klingler (47), member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft with responsibility for Sales and Marketing and member of the Volkswagen brand Board of Management with responsibility for Sales and Marketing, is leaving the company with immediate effect as part of long-term planned structural changes and as a result of differences with regard to business strategy. This is not related to recent events. The new CEO Matthias Müller will head the Sales department at Group level in an interim capacity until further notice.
Jürgen Stackmann (54), previously Chairman of SEAT, will take over Christian Klingler’s function as a member of the Volkswagen brand Board of Management. Stackmann is succeeded by Luca de Meo (48), currently Audi AG Board of Management member for Sales and Marketing. These personnel changes become effective from October 1.
– By: Chris Chin