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Volkswagen contemplates shakeup; Matthias Mueller's future uncertain

13 April 2018

Mueller's likely departure comes two days after Deutsche Bank, another pillar of corporate Germany, dismissed its chief executive, John Cryan, in pursuit of a more rapid turnaround following years of losses. Volkswagen said, on the basis of these considerations, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board is now in discussions with certain members of the Supervisory Board and of the Board of Management.

Despite facing billions in fines, vehicle refits and lawsuits relating to its "dieselgate" scandal, Volkswagen's operating results have been robust under Mueller's watch, with sales and profit hitting record highs a year ago.

Volkswagen Group says it is contemplating a management reshuffle that raises questions about CEO Matthias Mueller's future with the company. The complexity extends to its main shareholder, Porsche Automobil Holding SE, where Poetsch serves as the CEO and Mueller as a top executive.

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Mueller has expressed frustration with the pace of Volkswagen's transformation and more recently about his ability to turn around the brand's image following revelations the company had tested toxic fumes on monkeys. Porsche said in a separate release that any changes at VW would be reflected in its management.

Sources close to the board have told Reuters Mueller has become frustrated with the lack of support for his plans to reform the company.

Volkswagen could look to split into four sections - a mass-market carmaker including its VW, Seat and Skoda brands; a premium business consisting of Bentley and Audi (NSUG.DE); a sportscar group including Porsche, Bugatti and Lamborghini; and a commercial vehicle and trucks arm, the sources said.

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While Mueller is a life-long VW veteran, at times he cut an uneasy figure in the top job, which required him to manage the often contradictory demands of angry auto owners, disgruntled investors, well organized workers, and state officials with their own political agendas. German newspaper Der Spiegel has reported that the changes could take place as soon as Friday. Mueller's total compensation was more than 10 million euros previous year.

A VW spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment on the expected promotion of Diess.

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Volkswagen contemplates shakeup; Matthias Mueller's future uncertain