Herbert Diess dirige le groupe Volkswagen depuis 2018 et l

Volkswagen plunges into the unknown after the surprise resignation of its CEO

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This time it’s the right one… Herbert Diess has resigned from the position of Chairman of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Group. He will be replaced by Oliver Blume, the current boss of Porsche. He will assume his duties from September 1, maintaining his responsibilities at the head of the luxury brand.

Big surprise

The resignation of Herbert Diess is a big surprise as it was neither expected nor announced in the medium term. The man who heads the German giant of ten brands, world number one in the automotive industry, took the reins of the group in 2018. His appointment was to end the crisis that followed the incredible scandal of rigged engines, the final cost of which exceeded $25 billion in various compensation or fines. The former head of the Volkswagen brand then dedicated himself to rebuilding the strategic roadmap of a group that never managed to shake off its pro-combustion engine culture.

A letter of resignation to silence a riot

In 2020 he had to face an internal mutiny, made up of an atypical hitch between the engineering barons and the unionists. In the fall, he then put his resignation on the board table, forcing it to decide on his massive transformation plan that must then overturn the table to turn Volkswagen into a world champion in electric mobility. Billions would then be invested in new technology, but also in charging infrastructure or software mastery with more than 11,000 IT engineers to be recruited.

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The surveillance council doubts… But it ends up discharging him. Herbert Diess then takes his pilgrim’s staff to try to rally the employees to his cause. The press will report heated exchanges with staff representatives about the consequences of his transformation plan. But Herbert Diess is convinced that despite its industrial and technological might, Volkswagen is lagging behind and weak against Tesla, whose sales could match Audi’s in less than two years. On connectivity, software or electrification, the German group is no longer in the lead, it diagnoses it.

“I am worried about Wolfsburg (world headquarters of the group where the largest factory is also located, editor’s note)“he declared in front of the employees.”I want your children and grandchildren to continue to work with us in Wolfsburg in 2030Herbert Diess had launched to justify the breadth and audacity of his “revolution.”

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Unprecedented competition awaits us in the new automotive world“, he had also expressed before confessing after having tested Chinese cars: “”I must admit they really aren’t bad.“.

a grateful group

In the press release formalizing the departure of Herbert Diess, the supervisory board salutes the work of the outgoing chairman.

“Mr. Diess has impressively demonstrated the speed and consistency with which he has been able to drive large-scale transformation processes. He has not only guided the company through extremely rough waters, but has also implemented a fundamentally new strategy,” said Hans Dieter. Pötsch, Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

The mysterious reasons for leaving

Impossible to know the true reasons for the departure of Herbert Diess. Is his pugnacity of him in too brutal a transformation or a deep divergence of the board of directors at a time when the energy crisis is reeling the economic equation of the electric car?

The truth is that after the fall in 2015 of Martin Winterkorn after Dieselgate, that of Matthias Müller in 2018, Herbert Diess is part of that tradition of the disaster exits of the heads of one of the largest industrial groups in the world with almost 600,000 employees.

“There will be an automotive spring, but it will be rock and roll” (Herbert Diess)