Volkswagen Group has highlighted a desire to “enhance its customer focus” under a new chairman after announcing that Oliver Blume would take the reins from Herbert Deiss.
The chairman of the German manufacturing giant’s supervisory board, Hans Dieter Pötsch, praised Deiss for steering the company through “extremely turbulent waters” as his successor was announced during a meeting on Friday (July 22).
Blume will take over as chairman on September 1 while retaining a position as chairman of Porsche which he has held since 2015.
Pötsch thanked Herbert Diess on behalf of the entire board, stating: “During his tenure as Chairman of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars Brand and as Chairman of the Group Board of Management, Herbert Diess played a key role in advancing the transformation of the company.
“The Group and its brands are viable for the future; its innovative capabilities and earning power are strengthened.
“Mr Diess impressively demonstrated the speed at which and consistency with which he was able to carry out far-reaching transformation processes. Not only did he steer the company through extremely turbulent waters, but he also implemented a fundamentally new strategy.”
Deiss could be considered as VW’s most public-facing boss ever after his efforts to drive an ambitious electrification program saw him engage with Tesla founder Elon Musk.
In May AM reported that Deiss expected Volkswagen Group’s race with Tesla to become the world’s leading electric vehicle (EV) producer by 2025 to be ‘tight’.
He expressed surprise at the pace of growth achieved by the EV brand as he addressed the Financial Times’ Future of the Car Summit.
The Financial Times reported that Deiss’ tenure had been marred by repeated clashes with VW’s powerful German works council, however.
The council represents most of Volkswagen Group’s 300,000 German workers and occupies half of the 20 seats on it supervisory board.
Now Blume will take on the challenge of transforming the Volkswagen Group into the world’s leading EV producer.
Blume joined the Volkswagen Group in 1994 and, since then, has held management positions for the brands Audi, Seat, Volkswagen and Porsche.
Commenting on his appointment as Volkswagen Group chairman Pötsch said: “Oliver Blume has proven his operational and strategic skills in various positions within the group and in several brands and has managed Porsche AG from a financial, technological and cultural standpoint with great success for seven years running.
“From the supervisory board’s point of view, he is now the right person to lead the group and to further enhance its customer focus and the positioning of its brands and products.”