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Herbert Diess to step down as Volkswagen chairman

UPI News
UPI News
 2022-07-22
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July 22 (UPI) -- Herbert Diess, who took over European auto giant Volkswagen after a catastrophic emissions device scandal that stretched to the United States, will step down as chairman at the end of August.

The auto company, which owns the high-profile automobile brands Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini, will be replaced by Oliver Blume, who will combine the new role with his current one as chairman of Porsche.

"Herbert Diess played a key role in advancing the transformation of the company," Hans Dieter Potsch, chairman of the Volkswagen supervisory board, said in a statement.

"The group and its brands are viable for the future; its innovative capabilities and earning power are strengthened," Potsch said.

Diess served as chairman of the board of management of the Volkswagen passenger cars brand and as chairman of the group board of management.

"Mr. Diess impressively demonstrated the speed at which and consistency with which he was able to carry out far-reaching transformation processes," Potsch said. "Not only did he steer the company through extremely turbulent waters, but he also implemented a fundamentally new strategy."

Volkswagen was reeling in the emissions scandal when it was discovered that vehicles it made had a "defeat device" software that falsely registered low emission outputs when being tested in hundreds of thousands of vehicles sold in the United States.

The scandal costs Volkswagen tens of millions and fines and repairs along with a dent in its reputation before Diess's arrival.

In April, Diess announced a new growth plan for Volkswagen to help it reduce vulnerability to global conflicts like Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has caused supply chain disruption and prices.

"The latest geopolitical changes and increased block-building have been exposing our global vulnerability, particularly with regards to the United States," Diess said in April, according to the Economic Times.

Blume joined the Volkswagen Group in 1994 and has held management positions at Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche. He has served as Porsche's chairman since 2015.

"Oliver Blume has proven his operational and strategic skills in various positions within the group and in several brands and has managed Porsche AG from a financial, technological and cultural standpoint with great success for seven years running," Potsch said.

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