Volkswagen late on Thursday announced the appointment of Diess, after the group's board of directors ousted Matthias Mueller as CEO, in an overhaul of the company, which spans motorbikes, buses, trucks and passenger auto brands including Ducati, Bentley, Porsche, Audi, Scania and Skoda.
Müller led the Volkswagen Group through one of its toughest periods as it faced fire for its emissions cheating scandal.
Diess's appointment to succeed Matthias Mueller, who steps down immediately, will be key to reassuring investors that the highly centralized German industrial behemoth is capable of reform.
VW's goal is "to safeguard its position among the leaders of the global automotive industry with innovativeness and profitability", said supervisory board chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch. This new structure will include the brand groups of volume, premium and super premium products, as well as a truck and bus division, and a still-unannounced fifth and sixth division as of Friday morning.
VW will tighten leadership duties within the group and empower the heads of the three vehicle categories to take on company-wide responsibilities.
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"Bundling brands in groups greatly helps to increase synergies", said Bankhaus Metzler analyst Juergen Pieper.
"In a phase of profound upheaval in the automotive industry, it is vital for Volkswagen to pick up speed and make an unmistakable mark in e-mobility, the digitalisation of the automobile and transportation, as well as new mobility services". The company sold 10.74 million vehicles in the year.
The VW cars with 2-liter diesels would meet emissions standards tests in a laboratory or testing station, but in normal operation, they emit nitrogen oxides at up to 40 times the standard, according to the EPA.
As of February, VW had spent more than $7.4 billion in buying back about 350,000 vehicles. German prosecutors suspected him and the head of the Supervisory Board of the company Dieter PECs and former Chairman of the Board Martin Winterkorn in manipulations on the stock market.
Gunnar Kilian, from the company's works council, becomes group head of human resources, succeeding Karlheinz Blessing, who will be available as a consultant until his contract expires. Apart from this, Oliver Blume, Porsche CEO will be joined to the group Board of Management.