New chairman Oliver Blume says VW Group brands will be given more business responsibility amid top-level restructure.
The Volkswagen Group has shrunk its board of management from 12 to nine under new group chairman Oliver Blume as it strives for a sharper focus on the delivery of promises made on key issues such as software and electrification.
The group’s direction on EVs and software under former chairman Herbert Diess, who officially stepped down today, was praised by chairman of the supervisory board Hans Dieter Pötsch, but with the suggestion that it wasn’t properly enacted. “Now it’s time to implement the initiated measures with a streamlined group management,” Pötsch said in a statement.
VW under Diess had been widely criticised for its failure to successfully match the promise of its ambitious software strategy with the reality of the rollout in its MEB range of electric cars, as well as other models. Blume takes over the responsibility for VW’s Cariad software division, as well as taking the lead on strategy, quality and design.
The new board will sit without group head of purchasing Murat Aksel and group head of sales Hildegard Wortmann. The two former board members keep their group roles and now sit on the newly created extended executive committee, which also includes Porsche head of development Michael Steiner and Christian Vollmer, head of VW brand production. Steiner will oversee group development and Vollmer group production.
Who will take over Blume’s previous board role as head of VW’s sport and luxury brands wasn’t specified in the VW Group statement although Blume continues as CEO of Porsche.
Blume indicated on his first day that VW will not back down from its ambitious electric strategy. “#Emobility is the future. We will keep up the current pace and where possible, increase it. I am a fan of e-mobility and I stand by this path through my work at Porsche as well,” Blume was quoted as saying on the Volkswagen Group Twitter feed. Unlike his predecessor Diess, Blume doesn’t have a Twitter account. Diess used the platform widely, often praising his rival Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla.
The VW Group account also posted a quote from Blume announcing a new 10-point plan for the company, alongside a shot of him in front of a slide showing their order of priority. Number one on the list was the imminent VW planning round 71, which assigns new investments globally, followed by products and China. North America was fourth, followed by software division Cariad and the SSP future electric platform in sixth. “The focus is on our financial robustness, the advancement of our products, software and technologies, regions like China & North America, as well as sustainability and the capital market,” Blume was quoted as saying.
Blume also said the VW Group brands “will be given more business responsibility”, adding that “the interplay between the group, brand groups and brands is key for the success of the Volkswagen Group”.