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

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Herbert Diess has been confirmed at the helm of the Volkswagen group, the second largest car manufacturer in the world, but the Supervisory Board has reduced its power. Not only because he has entrusted part of his skills to other managers, but also because he has expanded the Board of Directors, which from next July will consist of twelve members, four more than today.

Despite the “torpedoing” of the head of Legal Affairs Hiltrud Dorothea Werner, in office since 2017, the number of women has doubled. Both Hauke ​​Stars and Hildegard Wortmann have been called to join the management: the former, until 2020 and for 8 years in the board of Deutsche Börse, will have responsibility for IT and Organization, while the latter will take care of Sales. Diess, 63 and with a contract that expires in 2025, retains responsibility for volume brands (until next summer, for sure) and group strategy, adds software development unit, Cariad, but loses China .

In the new board, the weight of the managers coming from BMW is important. In addition to Diess, Markus Duesmann, Audi’s number one who oversees premium brands (and who “lost” Cariad), Murat Aksel, head of purchases, and Wortmann herself, who will retain her role, have recently spent in the Bavarian house. also in the house of the Four Rings. Ralf Brandstätter, an executive whose career is linked to the group and until now CEO of the Volkswagen brand, gets the promotion of the board as head of the Chinese operations that Diess himself had managed up to now (he will take over in August) and which have cost him his job to Stephan Wöllenstein.

Since April, Thomas Schäfer has replaced him, having been recalled from South Africa for just over a year to helm Skoda. For him too, a position on the Board of Directors is planned for the summer. In replacement of Werner from next February, the chairman of the Supervisory Board, Hans Dieter Pötsch (and therefore the Piech and Porsche families), have placed a man of trust, Manfred Döss, in the Legal division, that is the same role he already occupies in the financial through which the two dynasties control the Volkswagen group.

Finance chief Arno Antlitz has sold the IT division, while Gunnar Kilian remains the staff, but his contract will be changed. The other two members are Oliver Blume, CEO of Porsche (Sport and Luxury), and Thomas Schmall-von Westerholt (Technology).

The multinational car company (over 100 factories worldwide and around 600,000 employees) has revolutionized its driving by relying exclusively on German-speaking managers: Diess is Austrian and Aksel was born in Turkey, but the careers of both are linked to Germany. . The group that had given Martin Winterkorn too much power eventually ended up assigning even more to Diess, whose methods had been criticized as being rather authoritarian.

His hypothesized reduction of personnel in Germany had triggered the reaction not only of the workers’ representatives, whose spokesperson is Daniela Cavallo, daughter of a Calabrian immigrant who arrived in Wolfsburg in 1969, but also that of the public shareholder (who has the right to veto ), the Land of Lower Saxony. The mediation led to the reshaping of the top management and perhaps also affected the massive investments in the reference region.

In the pharaonic 159 billion investment plan “Planning Round 70”, today the group announced that it has changed the distribution of resources. 21 billion are foreseen to modernize the plants in Wolfsburg, Hannover, Braunschweig, Salzgitter, Osnabrück and Emden. More than half of the total investment, 89 billion, is earmarked for electric mobility and digitalisation over the next five years. The German giant has also announced the implementation of the Trinity project, the platform for the electric cars of the future on which a new flagship with a level 4 of autonomous driving will be born from 2026. Within the same year, the company plans to sell one in four zero-emission cars.

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