Volkswagen puts Herbert Diess in the driving seat

Unions will get a VW board seat if they agree to Herbert Diess as CEO

Volkswagen named Herbert Diess to replace Matthias Mueller as CEO on Thursday in an overhaul of the German company's management structure.

Also under discussion has been a possible spinoff of the company's truck and bus division, which builds Man and Scania units - news on that is set to follow, as well as a decision on whether to give workers unions a place on the management committee in a bid to try and unblock obstacles to reform.

Diess currently heads the firm's namesake Volkswagen division, but now takes over a larger parent company that owns brands including Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini.

The supposedly outgoing boss of German vehicle giant Volkswagen, Matthias Mueller, could take up another post within the company, the German newspaper Handelsblatt reported on Thursday.

However, Mr Mueller was seen by critics as having failed to refocus the group's portfolio of brands, a key pillar of "Strategy 2025" to transform the company into a leader in cleaner cars after the diesel scandal.

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The appointment of Diess, formerly the company's brand manager, was cheered by analysts.

Board Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said Muller had done "outstanding work" at a time when the company "faced the greatest challenge in its history".

The carmaker will prepare its truck and bus division for "capital market readiness" by making it a public limited company as a prelude to a potential listing, confirming a Reuters report from last month. The company did not detail the fifth and sixth business divisions ahead of a news conference scheduled for 10:30 a.m. (0930 GMT) Friday.

Separately, VW said works council executive Gunnar Kilian, a close aide to labor boss Bernd Osterloh, will replace group human resources chief Karlheinz Blessing who will stay at VW as an adviser.

Purchasing chief Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, the longest-serving top executive at VW, will leave the company, the carmaker said. Additionally, Porsche sports auto division head Oliver Blume is being promoted to the top management body of the entire group. The board of directors turned to longtime company employee Mueller, who started at Audi in 1978. Other big shareholders are the German state of Lower Saxony, where Volkswagen is headquartered, with 20 percent of the voting rights, and Qatar Holding with 17 percent.

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