Porsche boss Matthias Mueller will succeed Martin Winterkorn as CEO of the Volkswagen Group, the carmaker’s supervisory board decided late Friday.
Mueller, 62, was one of the main candidates to take the position, following the resignation of Winterkorn on Wednesday.Â He is a Volkswagen Group veteran, who joined Audi in 1977 and has worked across the company in various executive capacities.
The supervisory board said in a statement that Mueller wasn’t involved in the emissions manipulation and is “exactly the right man” to push through the investigation into VW’s current crisis and draw the right conclusions for the future of the company from it.
“We explicitly appreciate his critical and constructive point of view,” the board said.
Winterkorn resigned his post in the wake of revelations that VW had used software to make several of its diesel-powered car models perform better in USÂ emission tests. The carmaker, which has admitted that the manipulation could affect Â 11 million VW and Audi cars in the US and elsewhere, could face fines in excess of 18 billion dollars.
On Friday, moreover, Germany’s transportation minister, AlexanderÂ Dobrindt, said he had information that 2.8 million VW cars in Germany alone were affected by the emissions manipulation.
Mueller’s first job will be to establish which of the VW Group’s top managers knew about the emissions manipulation. In a parallel undertaking, he will have to put in place a management structure – and a culture – that will limit the possibility of such actions recurring. Winterkorn said earlier this weekÂ that, though he accepted responsibility, he wasn’t aware of any wrongdoing on his part.
The VW Supervisory Board already indicated Wednesday that, next to Winterkorn’s departure, there would likely to be a further top management shakeup. On Friday, it announced several changes in key positions:
- Skoda boss Winfried Vahland will head VW’s operations in North America and will join the VW brand Â board of management. Michael Horn remains CEO of Volkswagen Group of America.
- The VW Group production department will be abolished and brands and regions will get greater independence
- VW will create a Porsche brand group that will include the Bentley and Bugatti brands.
- VW, Seat and Skoda will each have one group management board member.
- A new chief technology officer will analyse and co-steer technical developments.
- VW brand sales and marketing boss Christian Klingler is leaving the company because of “differences with regard to business strategy.”
- SEAT CEO Juergen Stackmann will take over from Klingler and Audi sales and marketing boss Luca de Meo will take over as head of SEAT.
The board also said it would recommend to the annual meeting in November thatÂ VW CFO Hans Dieter Poetsch would become a member of the supervisory board and would subsequentlyÂ head this body.
Mueller became CEO of Porsche in 2010, having held several management positions at VW and its premium-car subsdiary Audi. Before moving to Porsche, he headed all vehicle projects of the group’s many brands for three years.
Earlier, Mueller was responsible for product management at Audi and Lamborghini. He started his career at Audi in Ingolstadt in 1977.
Mueller trained as a toolmaker and studied information technology in Munich.