Volkswagen is planning to do anything it can to avoid another Herbert Diess situation. The company is taking drastic steps to avoid what it considers internal to be a turbulent past few years. As Diess pushed for the German automaker to prioritize electrification efforts, its most powerful figures are attempting to take back control at all costs to invoke a drastic change at a company that has been recognized by Tesla CEO Elon Musk as the second-best EV manufacturer globally.
Diess, who spearheaded VW’s push toward a lineup of fully-electric cars, did not win over many people during his tenure as the AG’s CEO and Chairman of the Board. His intense focus on keeping VW relevant by keeping up with EV industry leaders led to the release of several competitive electric models. The efforts helped boost the company to be seriously considered as one of the true disruptors of the automotive sector as we currently know it. Volkswagen, in reality, was the first long-standing automaker to make a firm commitment to EVs.
Ultimately, the move has paid off. Volkswagen has the second-best sales record in 2022 in the European Union, according to EU-EVs.com, only trailing Tesla. Its ID.4 has recently started rolling off of production lines in the United States, and it has several highly-attractive and heavily anticipated models already in production and even more on the way.
However, Diess’s abrasiveness as VW AG CEO has chased the Porsche and Piech families away from embracing the same management strategy once again. After we reported on the families agreeing that VW and its many brands would be kept on a short leash as they seek to reestablish control of the companies, Reuters is now stating that incoming CEO Oliver Blume, who currently assumes the role of Porsche CEO, may trim Volkswagen’s Board from twelve members to eight or nine.
The report indicates Blum plans to surround himself with a “core team,” which would be comprised of CFO Arno Antlitz, Personnel Head Gunnar Kilian, Legal Chief Mandred Doess, and VW, Skoda, and Seat brand head Thomas Schaefer. Markus Duesman, who heads Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley, and Ducati, could also assume a new role but is expected to stay at the company.
Diess’s push for EVs and a more sustainable business outlook altogether not only cost him the trust of VW but his job as well. Interestingly, Diess made Volkswagen more competitive than nearly any company on the planet in terms of electric cars, which makes the Porsche-Piech strategy for the future questionable. However, ultimate control and more stabilized day-to-day operations are what they seek, and they may be looking for someone who fits the molds of the German standard: perfection, in every sense of the word.
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