Presidium of the VW supervisory board advises on CEO Diess

Herbert Diess

It is unclear whether a decision will already be made about Diess’ remaining at the top of the group.

(Photo: imago images / rheinmainfoto)

Hamburg In the power struggle between the works council and Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess, according to insiders, details are being worked on for an agreement. “At the moment it looks like the threads are coming together,” said a person with knowledge of the advice of the Reuters news agency on Monday.

The goal is a total package of several board memberships, employment prospects for the employees and investment commitments for the coming years, explained two other initiates. This could renew the truce that had enabled Diess to remain at the top of the group a year ago after the turbulence surrounding a contract extension he had requested. That would mean: “It goes on with Diess,” said one of the insiders. The pendulum is currently leaning in this direction.

According to insiders, the board of directors should discuss the dispute on Tuesday. It is uncertain whether a decision will already be made about Diess’ remaining at the top of the group. Further consultations may be necessary. Another insider confirmed the date. The “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” had previously reported on the presidium meeting on Tuesday.

Several insiders assumed that an agreement would be reached later this week. The deadline for the invitation to the decisive Supervisory Board meeting on December 9th is to be adhered to. Then the control body wants to decide on the investment plan for the next five years, which also includes the occupancy of the plants with vehicles.

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Part of the planning is also a new car factory outside the previous factory boundaries in Wolfsburg, where VW plans to build the new “Trinity” electric model series from 2026. The works council and company management are currently negotiating the surcharge required by the works council for the production of an e-car in Wolfsburg before this point in time. The supervisory board should also decide on this at the beginning of December.

The mediation committee recently set up after the renewed dispute over the management style of Diess with supervisory board chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch, Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD), works council chief Daniela Cavallo and IG Metall boss Jörg Hofmann advised again on Friday, said one of the people with knowledge of the processes.

Further talks are necessary for an agreement. An agreement in the next few days is likely. Volkswagen and Porsche SE, through which the Porsche and Piëch families hold the majority of voting rights in the Wolfsburg-based car company, did not comment on the information.

More important role for VW brand boss Ralf Brandstätter

As part of the agreement, VW brand boss Ralf Brandstätter should be appointed to the group’s executive board, report several insiders. There, the 53-year-old industrial engineer is supposed to take over the management of the important volume brand group, which includes VW, Skoda, Seat and the VW van division. This group has so far been the responsibility of Diess as CEO.

After the turbulence surrounding his criticism of leaks in the supervisory board in summer 2020, Diess had to cede the management of the Group’s largest brand to Brandstätter. Before that, Brandstätter was responsible for the operational business of the brand with the VW logo.

Diess announced a reorganization last week. In an internal video interview, he said in response to employee questions: “We will fundamentally rethink the group management system.” The aim is better cooperation in the respective brand groups. “The group will withdraw significantly from the operative business.” This should reduce hierarchy levels and accelerate the speed of decisions.

Brandstätter now let it be known that he is preparing for the management of the brand group, which stands for around 80 percent of the group’s deliveries. He also said that synergies should be better used in the future. For this, the positioning of the brands, the products and the technology would have to be optimally coordinated. “In this context, it is very important to me that every brand must and should be able to develop successfully.”

In addition to the Brandstätter personnel, the supervisory board should also resolve the long-awaited appointment of an IT executive. Another use is still being sought for the outgoing legal director Hiltrud Werner.

More: Hardened fronts in the supervisory board: dispute over Herbert Diess blocked VW

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