Volkswagen plunges into the unknown after the surprise resignation of its CEO


Volkswagen plunges into the unknown after the surprise resignation of its CEO
Written by madishthestylebar

This time it’s the right one… Herbert Diess has resigned from the post of Chairman of the Management Board of the Volkswagen group. He will be replaced by Oliver Blume, current boss of Porsche. He will take up his duties from September 1st while keeping his responsibilities at the head of the luxury brand.

huge surprise

The resignation of Herbert Diess is a huge surprise as it was neither expected nor announced in the medium term. The man who heads the ten-brand German juggernaut, world number one in the automotive industry, took over the reins of the group in 2018. His appointment was to end the crisis that followed the incredible scandal of the rigged engines, the final cost of which exceeded $25 billion in various indemnities or fines. The former boss of the Volkswagen brand then set about rebuilding the strategic roadmap of a group that never managed to get rid of its pro-combustion engine culture.

A letter of resignation to silence a mutiny

In 2020, he had to face an internal mutiny, made up of an atypical hitch between the barons of engineering and trade unionists. In the fall, he then put his resignation at the table of the board of directors, thus forcing him to decide on his massive transformation plan which must then overturn the table to make Volkswagen a world champion in electro-mobility. . Billions would then be invested in new technologies, but also in charging infrastructure, or in software mastery with more than 11,000 IT engineers to be recruited.

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The supervisory board hesitates… But ends up giving him discharge. Herbert Diess then takes up his pilgrim’s staff to try to rally the employees to his cause. The press will report heated exchanges with staff representatives on the consequences of its transformation plan. But Herbert Diess is convinced that despite its industrial and technological power, Volkswagen has accumulated delays and weaknesses against Tesla, whose sales could equal those of Audi in less than two years. On connectivity, software or electrification, the German group is no longer at the forefront, he diagnoses.

“I am worried about Wolfsburg (world headquarters of the group where the largest factory is also located, editor’s note)“, he declared in front of the employees. “I want your children and grandchildren to still have a job with us in Wolfsburg in 2030” had launched Herbert Diess to justify the extent and the audacity of his “revolution”.

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In the new automotive world, unprecedented competition awaits us“, he had also expressed before confessing after having tested Chinese cars: “”I must admit that they are really not bad“.

A grateful group

In the press release formalizing the departure of Herbert Diess, the supervisory board salutes the work of the outgoing chairman.

“Mr. Diess has impressively demonstrated the speed and consistency with which he has been able to drive large-scale transformational processes. He has not only guided the company through extremely turbulent waters, but he has also implemented a fundamentally new strategy, said Hans Dieter Pötsch, Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

The mysterious reasons for leaving

Impossible to know the real reasons for the departure of Herbert Diess. Its pugnacity in a too brutal transformation or a deep divergence of the supervisory board at a time when the energy crisis is wobbling the economic equation of the electric car?

What is certain is that after the fall in 2015 of Martin Winterkorn following the Dieselgate, that of Matthias Müller in 2018, Herbert Diess is part of this tradition of the departures in disaster of the bosses of one of the largest industrial groups in the world with nearly 600,000 employees.

“There will be an automotive spring, but it will be rock and roll” (Herbert Diess)