Admired by investors and ready to take on trade unions, Volkswagen brand boss Herbert Diess is probably going to get his chance to lead Germany’s biggest automaker which is expected to transform faster under his cost-cutting style.
Diess is noted for squeezing more savings out of suppliers compared to fellow managers and does not shy away from the issues that often arise at the automaker as it makes recovery from an emissions-cheating scandal.
Two sources informed Reuters on Tuesday that Diess was to replace present CEO Matthias Mueller, in the job since automaker’s 2015 Dieselgate scandal, as part of a broader management rebuild.
The Volkswagen board will meet to talk about the issue on Friday, the sources stated.
Diess has pushed the Volkswagen brand to slash costs and bring new vehicles to market quicker, using a streamlined model-development technique he brought with him from BMW, where he worked before.
Diess joined Volkswagen from BMW in July 2015, only few months before the discovery that automaker had cheated emissions tests in the United States, decreasing its share price, costing it billions of dollars and claiming the scalp of then-CEO Martin Winterkorn.
During that time of his appointment, Volkswagen stated Diess was “the ideal candidate” to revive the Volkswagen brand, which lagged rivals Toyota, Renault-Nissan, General Motors and Ford on profitability.
Under Diess’s tenure, the VW brand, Volkswagen’s largest division by earnings, more than doubled its return on sales in last year, helped by cuts in research and development spending, decrease in production costs and increasing sales of higher-margin sport utility vehicles.