Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess will leave the company next month after leading massive investments in software and electric vehicles
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess will leave the company at the end of August and will be succeeded by Oliver Blume, the current CEO of the Volkswagen subsidiary. Porscheas of 1 Sept.
Diess joined the company from BMW in 2015, taking on the role of CEO following the company’s Dieselgate scandal, at a time when Volkswagen was looking for a dramatically new direction.
He pioneered massive investments in electric vehicles with the goal of selling millions of EVs by the middle of the decade and worked on founding a software group within VW called Cariad that developed new software technologies for the new EV era.
Image credit: Herbert Diess
He also promised a stock market listing for the Porsche brand, a move intended to fund investments in electrification.
Diess named Tesla as his model, rather than conventional automakers like Toyota or GM, and Tesla chief executive Elon Musk is said to have offered him the CEO role at Tesla in 2015 before Diess decided to join Volkswagen.
In the US, Diess’ tenure at Volkswagen was memorable due to the return of the VW microbus as an EV and the revival of the Scout truck brand.
He was tasked with drastically cutting Volkswagen’s costs, causing him to repeatedly clash with unions, while the Porsche and Piech families, major Volkswagen shareholders, were concerned that Diess’ multibillion-dollar investments in EVs and software were not yielding returns quickly enough.
Thank you all colleagues in the thousands @VWGroup and locations of other brands around the world. Well done!
Enjoy the break – we are in good shape for the second half: https://t.co/E9q1j3RBZg
— Herbert Diess (@Herbert_Diess) July 22, 2022
His departure comes three years before his contract was due to expire.
Volkswagen gave no reason for Diess’ departure.
In a statement, Volkswagen chairman Hans Dieter Potsch said Diess had played a key role in the transformation of the company.
“Not only has he guided the company through extremely turbulent waters, but he has also implemented a fundamentally new strategy,” Potsch said.
A career manager at Volkswagen, Blume held production positions at Audi, the Spanish brand Seat and the Volkswagen brand before becoming head of production at Porsche in 2013 and CEO in 2015.
Volkswagen said its chief financial officer Arno Antlitz would take on the additional title of Chief Operating Officer to assist Blume in day-to-day operations.