VW ‘restructures’ management
Following VW CEO Dr Martin Winterkorn’s decision to jump before he was pushed on 24 September, no-one was surprised when VW announced that there had been a number of changes in its global leadership.
First off Porsche chairman Matthias Müller was appointed as CEO of Volkswagen AG with immediate effect on Friday 26 September. Müller remains chairman of Porsche AG in Stuttgart until a successor has been found.
The interim chairman of the supervisory board of Volkswagen AG, Berthold Huber commented: “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.”
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 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. He was appointed member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG on 1 March 2015.
Meanwhile the Supervisory Board decided that the markets in the USA, Mexico, and Canada will be combined to form a new North America region. Effective 1 November 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.
The fact that Michael Horn (52) remains President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America – which is of course at the centre of the emissions scandal – is more surprising than the appointments and restructuring.
As one Morgan Stanley analyst wrote in an investor’s note at the time: “No further departures (in connection with the emission scandal), no plan to regain consumers trust, no update on their internal investigation…nothing…”. The point is that there is some feeling that more needed to be done, which raises the question – has VW done enough?