Volkswagen Gearing Up To Replace CEO With VW Brand Head

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"Herbert Diess was imported from BMW in 2015 and tasked with improving the performance of the VW brand", Warburton said in a note.

However, Union Investment fund manager Ingo Speich, whose firm holds about 0.6 percent of Volkswagen preference shares, expressed concern that running a group with about 640,000 employees at more than 120 plants worldwide could prove tough for Diess, who has a reputation for micro-management.

"He launched an ambitious reform plan, including investing billions of euros in electric vehicles, but has struggled to push through changes aimed at creating a more efficient and focused company". Now, he's poised to take VW's top job. As VW's chief executive officer, "conflict will be part of the program".

Mr Mueller, a company veteran, was installed at short notice in 2015, a week after the company admitted to cheating U.S. diesel emission tests, prompting criticism from some investors who said that only an outsider could rebuild trust in the business.

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The powerful supervisory board, which devolves day-to-day management to the company's management board, is understood to have been looking at ways in which the company could be restructured following the Dieselgate scandal - the passenger vehicle brands within the Volkswagen Group are set to be divided into "volume", "premium" and "super premium" sections headed by Diess, Audi boss Rupert Stadler and Porsche chief Oliver Blume. The potential reshuffle has echoes of previous attempts to lend shape to the VW behemoth.

Diess is due to outline the group's new leadership structure in front of the supervisory board on Friday, two sources said. "Diess has proven to be someone who can get things done, so he's the right person to try and execute these changes".

Officially, the line from the company is simply that a change at the top of the company may be coming as part of a larger overhaul of management, but a number of unofficial sources (as quoted by Handelsblatt) have said Diess is likely to be appointed the new CEO soon.

Müller was named CEO in September 2015 after his predecessor, Martin Winterkorn, resigned within days of the Dieselgate scandal coming to light. As VW emerged from the diesel scandal, the company began reviewing its future structure, and how to streamline the still-Byzantine conglomerate, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations aren't public.