Surprising news has emerged out of Germany today, as Volkswagen Group chairman and CEO Herbert Diess has announced he is stepping down from this position at the company and will be replaced by Porsche AG CEO Oliver Blume.
Dr. Herbert Diess has a respected history in German autos, studying in Munich before working at Robert Bosch followed by extensive tenure at BMW AG for over fifteen years. At Volkswagen, Diess was appointed as Chairman of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand and Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft before being deemed Group CEO in 2019.
Diess has been a key figure in Volkswagen’s rebranding as a leader in electrification following a diesel-clad stain on its reputation a few years ago. Under his time as CEO, Volkswagen has made huge strides in electrification and remains on track to become one of the leaders in EV sales this decade.
However, we’ve just learned that the CEO is resigning due to “mutual agreement” with Volkswagen. Porsche’s current CEO Oliver Blume will take over Diess’ role at Volkswagen Group while remaining the head of the sports car marque.
Diess did not mention his resignation in a recent LinkedIn post, but does share clear indication that this is goodbye and Volkswagen is in good hands without mentioning a new CEO:
After a really stressful first half of 2022 many of us are looking forward to a well-deserved summer break.
The first six months were even more demanding than the already difficult year 2021. In addition to COVID, which struck our Chinese colleagues extremely hard, we have a war in Europe. Production was still held back by semiconductor shortages and because of a world under stress, we saw many other supply challenges and soaring raw material and energy prices.
There are also many positives — we had some tailwinds: Electrification is really working worldwide: High demand in China, Europe and even the U.S. In the first half, many of our EV products like the ID.3 and ID.4, Q4 e-tron or Porsche Taycan are sold out for many months of production. China has been bouncing back over the last couple of weeks, we were able to gain back market share and are once again the undisputed No. 1. And we had really exciting and emotional product launches like the ID.BUZZ. Premium is doing especially well. And in many of our regions we could continue to improve our market position and financials, further strengthening our resilience. You will see this reflected in our earnings numbers, which we will present next week.
We have highly desirable products, our teams in purchasing and manufacturing are producing every possible car — still in task force modus. They have managed the semi and wire harnessing squeeze and signed strategic contracts with chipmakers STMicro and TSMC, for the first time ever. And our sales teams are doing the utmost to keep customers as happy as possible.
So, thank you for all your efforts and congratulations to the incredible achievements in most of our business areas, I am very satisfied with our performance and as some of the conditions, e.g. semi supplies, should improve in the second half, I have no doubt that we will gain further momentum in the next months.
Strategically we also made big moves in the first half: We broke ground for our giga cell factory in Salzgitter and laid the foundation for the electrification of our Spanish plants, with another cell factory plant in Valencia. We completed the acquisition of Europcar, laying the basis of our future mobility business. And we did first test drives with our ID.BUZZ AD robo shuttle in Munich. In the U.S., we decided to establish a new independent company to enter the electric pickup and rugged SUV market, reviving the iconic Scout brand. We are preparing an IPO of Porsche, which would crystallize the value of the sports business and provide the Group with additional financial flexibility to drive the transformation.
I also would like to congratulate our new colleagues: Hauke is really taking on her task to improve our processes and IT tools, she is significantly strengthening and empowering our IT organization. Hildegard for the first time brought all sales teams together, discussing a vision that will completely change our Group sales approach with the direct relationship to customers at the core. Thomas had a jump start at the Volkswagen brand and makes extremely fast progress in aligning the volume brands — impressive leadership! Ralf has left for China, full of ideas and plans to further improve our China business, adding more technology-competence and establishing a local China board with more independence and room for maneuvering. And Manfred keeps the still many legal issues under control and continues to improve compliance and integrity.
So thank you all, colleagues at the thousands of Volkswagen and other brands‘ locations everywhere in the world. Well done!
Enjoy the break — we are in good shape for the second half!
These personnel changes are expected to go into affect September 1st. This story is ongoing, and we will update if and when we learn more.
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