April 12 (UPI) — Volkswagen named Herbert Diess to replace Matthias Mueller as CEO on Thursday in an overhaul of the German company’s management structure.
Mueller had been in the position for less than three years, taking over for Martin Winterkorn amid a high-profile emissions scandal. Prior to the promotion, Diess was Volkswagen’s brand chief.
Diess said Mueller “laid the groundwork” for Volkswagen’s transformation.
“In a phase of profound upheaval in the automotive industry, it is vital for Volkswagen to pick up speed and make an unmistakable mark in e-mobility, the digitalization of the automobile and transportation as well as new mobility services,” the new CEO added.
The restructuring means Diess also will take over a parent company that includes auto brands Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen said it would reorganize its 12 brands into six vehicle divisions as well as a China division.
The automaker has been fined billions of dollars for using “defeat devices” in vehicles allowing them to circumvent U.S. emissions laws. The total cost to the company from the scandal is now near $30 billion.
In December, a federal judge sentenced Oliver Schmidt, Volkswagen’s former compliance liaison with American regulators, to seven years in prison for one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and another for violating the Clean Air Act.