Volkswagen names Herbert Diess as new CEO

Herbert Diess

Originally contracted to serve until 2020, Mueller was stepping down "by mutual agreement, effective immediately", VW said in a statement released after a meeting of its supervisory board.

Volkswagen Group has announced a significant executive restructure, as it chases "more efficient" management under new CEO, Dr. Herbert Diess.

The company has yet to comment on the reason for the shake-up or offer official confirmation of the changes.

Diess is a former BMW executive who since 2015 has headed the core Volkswagen brand.

While the timing of the handover seems somewhat counterintuitive - VW is financially on the mend and has defended its status as the industry No. 1 - Mueller had at times shown signs of fatigue. It said chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch will spearhead the transition, and that there is no certainty that personnel changes will in fact occur.

The statement continued: "He assumed the chairmanship of the board of management in the fall of 2015 when the company faced the greatest challenge in its history".

Volkswagen's new chief vowed Friday to push on with reform and cultural change to steer the German auto giant out of the cloud of the "dieselgate" scandal and into a future of electric cars and sustainable mobility.

After-tax profit rose to 11.6 billion euros ($14.3 billion) previous year, on sales of 230.6 billion euros. The carmaker also managed to fend off Toyota Motor to retain its status as the world's largest carmaker.

The brand expects 300,000 units to be retro-fitted to cars this year alone.

Mueller, who formerly headed Porsche, took over as CEO unexpectedly in September 2015 when Martin Winterkorn resigned over the company's scandal over cars rigged to cheat on emissions tests. Porsche said in a separate release that any changes at VW would be reflected in its management.

Human resources chief Karlheinz Blessing is also set to go.

VW supervisory board members are discussing the creation of a "super premium" group which would include sports vehicle brands Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti, the source said.

He has presided over a wide ranging restructuring of the company and its other brands.

Reuters provides more: "The move comes after Europe's largest automaker has been hampered by infighting among its powerful stakeholders, which include the Porsche and Piech families, the German state of Lower Saxony, and labor leaders". Now, he's poised to take VW's top job.

For Lower Saxony, represented on the VW supervisory board through Prime Minister Stephan Weil and Economy Minister Bernd Althusmann, the key is to protect local jobs, a goal shared with VW's unions, which effectively gives the pro-labor camp control of the board.

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