VW reshuffles management in the wake of ‘dieselgate’

2016 Volkswagen Passat
Volkswagen is making sweeping management changes as it continues to reel from an ongoing diesel emissions scandal. The German automaker will cut the number of its executives, and make new appointments to replace some of the managers that resigned in the wake of the scandal.

The number of top managers reporting to the CEO has been “almost halved,” according to VW. This will help “speed up the decision-making process, reduce complexity, and increase efficiency,” said VW Group CEO Matthias Müller. It could also help with oversight, which Volkswagen’s own internal investigation said was a factor in the use of “defeat device” software in 11 million vehicles worldwide.

VW will also fill some recently-vacated positions, including head of research and development. Ulrich Eichhorn will replace Ulrich Hackenberg, who stepped down last month. He was previously head of VW Group research from 2000 to 2003, before taking a seat on Bentley’s board in 2003, and then taking over as managing director of the German Association of the Automotive Industry in 2012.

In addition, Michael Mauer will succeed Walter de Silva as head of VW Group design, in addition to his current position as head of design at Porsche. His credits there include the 2007 Cayenne, the Panamera, and the 918 Spyder supercar. Before his stint at Porsche, Mauer worked at Mercedes-Benz from 1986 to 2000, drafting the SL, SLK, and Smart models. He moved to Saab in 2000 and General Motors Europe in 2003, before going Porsche in 2004.

The appointments will take effect in the first quarter of 2016. Volkswagen also expects to begin recalling diesel cars in Europe around that time, although there still is no timeline for the U.S. VW submitted a proposed fix for cars equipped with the 2.0-liter EA189 four-cylinder engine to the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board last month, but no details have been made public.

Elsewhere in the Volkswagen realm, there is a report that departing Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann will be replaced by former Ferrari Formula One boss Stefano Domenicali. Domenicali joined Audi almost immediately after resigning from Ferrari in 2014, and is now in negotiations for the top job at Lambo, according to La Gazetta Dello Sport. Winkelmann, meanwhile, is rumored to be taking over Audi’s quattro performance division.

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