Diess leaves the Volkswagen group, Blume is the new CEO

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Herbert Diess, the Austrian manager to whom the Piech and Porsche dynasties had entrusted the task of reorganizing the Volkswagen group after the dieselgate, has resigned. The step back has been agreed with the company which will have a new CEO from next September, the current number one of Porsche Oliver Blume.

Between the two there are 10 years of difference, only that the first, born in ’58, had been hired by the group in 2015 to lead the Volkswagen brand (from July) before taking over from Matthias Müller in April 2018 at the helm of the group after a long career in BMW, while the second, born in 1968, gained experience in the various brands of the Wolfsburg auto multinational.

Diess is the man to whom the group had essentially entrusted full powers, despite the fact that among the reasons for the dieselgate the analysts had identified the excessive concentration of offices in Martin Winterkorn, the manager who has always professed not to have known about tampering, but forced to leave within a few days and on trial in Braunschweig. Diess is also the man who focused exclusively on electrification and who, together with Hans Dieter Pötsch, former head of finance then promoted to chairman of the Supervisory Board, had managed to avoid the courtroom proceedings for the dieselgate events thanks to the payment of 9 million euros. Diess was unable to work “fine” (and perhaps he didn’t even want to work with the workers’ representatives: the clashes with Daniela Cavallo, daughter of an Italian immigrant and head of the Factory Councils, were not lacking) and tried to surround herself with a new generation of managers, many of whom, like him, with backgrounds in BMW. Like Markus Duesmann (head of Audi), like Murat Aksel (purchasing manager) and Hildegard Wortmann (sales number one).

Rumors of Diess’s growing difficulties within the group had been chasing each other for months. Last December the Supervisory Board confirmed his trust in him, but his effective powers had been reduced with a redistribution of offices and an increase in the number of members of the Board of Directors.

READ ALSO – Volkswagen Group, the new map of power: Diess remains, but resized. Investments of 89 billion in electricity

At the same time, thanks to growing volumes, mind-boggling margins and rising profits, the prices of Oliver Blume have progressively risen, moreover skilfully supported by Lutz Meschke, 56, the head of finance and number two at Porsche.

Blume is an expression of the group and seems to have less polarizing attitudes, even if not necessarily accommodating and in any case more favored by the workers (Porsche pays very high bonuses to employees). He has successfully launched the electric Taycan and has made the “break” with respect to the group both on the production of a future electric and on the development of the new platform for premium zero-emission vehicles. In Diess the problems of Cariad, the subsidiary that deals with the software for which it had direct responsibility, were also likely to have been “fatal”. In recent days, Porsche had anticipated its strategy not hiding the difficulties on this front.

It will therefore be Blume himself who will manage the listing on the Stock Exchange of the manufacturer he has been driving since October 2015 and of which he remains CEO: the operation should be completed by the end of the year.

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