Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Economy | By

Volkswagen poised to axe boss Matthias Mueller

Volkswagen poised to axe boss Matthias Mueller

"It is now open whether the considerations and discussions will lead to a further development of the management structure or to personnel changes in the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft".

Supervisory board chief Hans Dieter Poetsch had been "speaking with different members of the supervisory and executive boards" about moving or replacing some of them, it went on, adding that Mueller "signalled he was open to play a part in the changes".

According to VW's statement, Mueller showed "general willingness to contribute to the changes".

Management and labor leaders agreed in late 2016 to cut 30,000 jobs via natural attrition at the VW division in exchange for a commitment to avoid compulsory redundancies in Germany until 2025, a deal that still left profitability lagging rivals.

Publicly-listed companies in Germany have two management structures: one consisting of the management board around the CEO and a supervisory board that is made up half-half of labor representatives and members of the capital side to ensure even distribution of interests. Prior to joining VW, Diess was an executive at BMW.

BMWDiess, who has been pushing for changes in the brand's structuring, joined the company in mid-2015 before the diesel scandal broke. The company also makes cars under the Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti, and Lamborghini brands.

Despite facing billions in fines, vehicle refits and lawsuits relating to its "dieselgate" scandal, Volkswagen's operating results have been robust, with sales and profit hitting record highs previous year.

The 64-year-old Mueller, always a reluctant CEO who had grown tired of the regular grillings by board members, responded during the talks by signaling he was prepared to step aside, they said.

The auto maker also managed to fend off Toyota Motor to retain its status as the world's largest vehicle maker. Volkswagen is more complex than most of its peers, with the Porsche-Piech families de-facto controlling the manufacturer and the state of Lower-Saxony - home to the company's headquarters and VW's main factory - owning 20 percent.

Two months ago, sources close to Volkswagen management told Reuters that Mueller was growing frustrated with a lack of support for his reform efforts and by the company's inability to draw a line under its emissions scandal. The group sold more than 4 million cars in China in 2017, far more than in any other country.

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