BERLIN (AP) – Volkswagen’s CEO is giving up up managing the company’s core VW brand in order to concentrate more on the group as a whole, the German automaker said Monday.
Herbert Diess, whose image had been tarnished in the fallout from the company’s diesel-emissions scandal, will be replaced as head of the VW brand by Ralf Brandstaetter, who has been serving as the brand’s chief operating officer, the company said in a statement.
The change will give Diess, who has been pushing the company ahead with a shift toward zero-emission vehicles and a new, more environmentally friendly image, more time to focus on the overall brand, which includes Audi, Porsche and Skoda, the company said.
â€œThe goal is a stronger focus on the respective tasks from the top of the group and brand in the ongoing transformation phase of the automobile industry,â€ VW said.
Diess and Board Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch had been charged by German prosecutors with securities-law violations for allegedly failing to tell investors in time about the company’s looming diesel scandal in 2015. The charges were dropped last month in return for a 9 million-euro ($10 million) payment, with no admission of guilty from the two.
Volkswagen was caught using software to evade U.S. emissions requirements for diesel cars. The scandal cost the company 31 billion euros ($34 billion) in fines and settlements.
Diess took over as head of the VW brand in 2015, coming from BMW, and worked his way up to CEO of the group in 2018.