Volkswagen Auto Group CEO Herbert Diess will lose some of his powers but will remain the leader of Europe’s largest carmaker after comments made last month put his job in jeopardy.
Diess indicated during a meeting with VW brass in November that a slow transition to electric vehicles could cost 35,000 Volkswagen employees their jobs. This comment did not sit well with VW’s labor representatives, who pulled Diess’ leadership into question. Ultimately, Diess was on the hot seat and a Supervisory Board met to discuss his future. It did not seem bright.
The Supervisory Board was unable to come to an agreement on terms of what Diess’ role would be moving forward. He remained in his position, and after discussions continued, it appears Diess will remain the frontman of the Volkswagen AG, with limited responsibilities, according to Reuters, who spoke to people familiar with the matter. It seems the most recent meetings have given the VW Board a new perspective, solidifying the fact that Diess is crucial to the development of the brands under the VW AG umbrella.
Diess has led Volkswagen since April 2018, where he diffused VW’s Dieselgate scandal from the late 2000s and early 2010s. Diess has put an extra emphasis on the importance of transitioning to electrification, wishing to ditch ICE vehicles as soon as possible to keep pace with Tesla, which pulls away from competitors on what seems like a daily basis.
It appears that Diess’ responsibilities will be fewer than previously, but he will still remain at the head of VW. “It is going in the direction that the dispute will be settled and Diess will remain CEO,” one source said.
The head of the Volkswagen brand, Ralf Brandstätter, will join the VW AG Management Board. Diess will concede some of his responsibilities to Brandstätter, while remaining focused on strategy.
The report also indicates that the Supervisory Board will meet again this week on Thursday to further discuss Diess’ role as VW AG head. Diess’ current contract with VW expires in April 2023.
Volkswagen recently reported EV delivery totals for Q3 that doubled the same period in 2020, led by the ID.4 all-electric crossover.