VW Group CEO Herbert Diess Resigns, Porsche CEO Named Replacement

The shake-up comes just ahead of Porsche's planned IPO this fall.
Outgoing VW CEO Herbert Diess
Getty Images

Herbert Diess will step down as the Volkswagen group’s Chairman of the Group Board of Management, the company announced Friday. Current Porsche chairman Oliver Blume will take over Diess’ role over the whole Volkswagen Group starting Sept. 1. 

Diess’ resignation was by mutual agreement, according to Volkswagen. The Porsche and Piëch families—which includes some of the Volkswagen Group’s biggest shareholders—decided the Volkswagen Group needed a change in leadership, according to sources familiar with the matter who spoke on conditions of anonymity to Reuters

The timing of Diess’ resignation comes as a surprise to many, particularly given that Porsche plans to have an initial public offering soon. However, Blume will remain in his chairman role at Porsche until after the IPO, effectively taking on both roles. Porsche’s IPO will stay on schedule to happen sometime this fall, reports NTV

Diess’ tenure at Volkswagen hasn’t always been the smoothest, from facing charges related to Dieselgate to his (frankly funny) beef with a Volkswagen Group charging partner over broken charge points and bathroom availability. Diess also butted heads with other members of the supervisory board and Volkswagen’s works council over job cuts, and the development of proprietary software and IT systems has been slow recently, according to NTV. Yet Diess also led the company through some of the toughest times for any automaker, leading Volkswagen increasingly into electrification while also managing a worldwide pandemic that has crippled supply chains. 

Blume has worked for the Volkswagen Group since 1994 and as the Chairman of the Board of Management for Porsche since 2015. During his time heading up Porsche, Porsche has hit sales records, bounced back strong from the sales lows of the pandemic, and launched the all-electric Taycan, an EV that was a bigger hit than even Porsche expected. As long as he can translate some of that momentum to the wider group of brands, the VW Group should be in steady hands. 

Blume’s promotion to VW Group CEO is also a bit of a theme, as Diess was chosen for the CEO role in 2018 for his extensive prior experience with electrification. Now, if I could get an ID.Buzz with a Taycan-style dashboard, that’d be great. 

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