Volkswagen is turning its leadership inside out. At the end of August, CEO Herbert Diess hands over his post to the previous Porsche boss Oliver Blume. The reasons remain undisclosed.
The move comes unexpectedly. As of September 1, 2022, the head of the Volkswagen Group will no longer be called Herbert Diess, but Oliver Blume. He is already the boss of the VW subsidiary Porsche and should remain so.
Step surprised, allegedly done by consensus
There was a certain hurry in the group behind the attempt to replace the previous group boss Diess. The step has not yet been officially justified. VW said the move was the result of a “mutual agreement”.
In the past few years, Diess had repeatedly been confronted with demands for his replacement. He started as a replacement in 2015. He succeeded the former boss Martin Winterkorn, who was unable to stay in office as a result of the emissions fraud scandal, the so-called Dieselgate.
This has turned things around at VW
In 2019, Diess also suffered the consequences of the fraud scandal when the public prosecutor’s office brought charges of stock manipulation. Diess is said to have delayed reports of the scam to minimize the scandal’s impact on the company’s share price. Ultimately, Diess was able to exculpate himself. However, his reputation has since been damaged.
In terms of content, it must be recognized that it was mainly Diess who pushed ahead with the transformation of the VW Group in the direction of electromobility. In doing so, he not only accelerated the development of a range of vehicles based on self-developed electric platforms. By experimenting with mobility services, he also prepared the group for a decreasing proportion of privately owned cars.
With its software department and claim to want to create and maintain its own VW operating system, Diess differentiated the company from the trend of buying hardware and software externally. Diess emphasized several times that VW should not become a pure “sheet metal bender”.
Blume is a pragmatist who is open to technology
This is how Diess succeeded in orienting the group towards the future. By 2030, electric cars should already account for half of the sales of the group’s subsidiaries. It remains to be seen how the successor will position itself.
Blume is considered to be more pragmatic in dealing with future technologies. He is one of the few managers who see synthetic fuels as a real alternative for the transition to carbon-neutral car traffic. We will therefore probably not see any radical acceleration of the path already taken – perhaps rather wait-and-see management of the status quo.