Herbert Diess bids farewell to Volkswagen on his final day as CEO

Credit: Herbert Diess | LinkedIn

Herbert Diess will officially resign from his post as Chairman of the Board of Management and CEO of the Volkswagen Group at the end of today.

“Today’s my last day as CEO of Volkswagen and I would like to use the opportunity to say thank you again,” Diess said. “These were the most rewarding seven years of my career. The future of our industry can be brilliant but we have to change fast. Volkswagen has already changed tremendously and is well underway.”

Diess effectively led the charge in Volkswagen’s electrification efforts, pushing the German automaker to transition past its cloudy past that involved the Dieselgate scandal, a controversy that saw the company use cheat devices during emissions testing. Knowing the company’s reputation and future were at stake, Diess pushed VW to focus on EVs, which has led to the automaker being recognized as Number 2 in the industry by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The company’s ID. platform of vehicles has quickly become one of the best-selling on Earth. The ID.4 outsold the Tesla Model 3 in July, CleanTechnica data shows.

“We have transformed the company that was seen as an autocratic cheat into a global thought leader in clean mobility,” Diess said, based on comments he received from VW fans after announcing his departure.

“I am grateful to all stakeholders and to all employees for having had the opportunity to steer the company through partially rough waters but with a clear direction: let’s shape mobility for generations to come,” Diess continued in his farewell post.

Diess started to feel pushback from the VW Board in 2021 when he warned that a slow transition to electric vehicles could cost 30,000 employees their jobs. This was considered an unfounded comment by Volkswagen’s labor union, and Diess was put in front of a rare mediation committee, where he was punished internally. Diess eventually said job reduction was not a focus of Volkswagen’s but remaining competitive, and keeping pace with Tesla, was.

Volkswagen eventually scaled the responsibilities Diess had as AG CEO back due to his comments.

However, it seemed that the damage had been done, and the relationship could not be salvaged. In late July, German media outlet n-tv reported that Diess and Volkswagen had decided his time with the company would come to an end in late August. Oliver Blume, the current head of VW brand Porsche, is set to take the title of VW AG CEO, replacing Diess effective immediately.

“Thank you all for your trust and feedback. Under the leadership of Oliver and a stronger than ever team of board members, I am convinced the company will remain in a leading position for as long as I can foresee,” Diess said.

Diess said that, since announcing his departure from VW, he has received positive feedback on what his work proved to do for the automaker. “You‘ve transformed Volkswagen into a thought leader in clean mobility,” one LinkedIn user told him. It is the only compliment that Diess mentioned, so he seems exceptionally proud of the work he has done, and let’s be honest, he should be.

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Herbert Diess bids farewell to Volkswagen on his final day as CEO
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