Volkswagen Group appoints new CEO

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Volkswagen has officially replaced CEO Matthias Muller with its VW brand head Herbert Diess as the automaker implements a new management structure to keep up with the "highly dynamic change" in the industry. The company's brands, which include Audi, Porsche, Skoda and Lamborghini, will be grouped into the broad categories of "volume", "premium" and "super premium".

Speaking at a news conference at the company's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, Diess said the company's goal would be "to forcefully and with focus press ahead" with the company's Strategy 2025.

The recently created volume brand group will also consist VW's commercial-vehicle division, one of the sources informed. Bernd Osterloh, the company's powerful labor leader, balked at negotiating with him during tough contract talks in 2016, but Diess prevailed with a landmark deal that paved the way to cutting as many as 30,000 jobs and saving 3.7 billion euros ($4.6 billion).

Under the plans, announced on Thursday, Volkswagen will divide itself into six new business areas, plus a portfolio for China, as part of an effort to decentralise responsibility and improve efficiency.

This management reshuffling comes in the aftermath of VW's diesel emissions scandal that saw the company admit to using software, known as a defeat device, in the 2009-2015 Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Beetle, Golf, Jetta and Passat TDI cars with 2.0-liter diesel engines to trick emissions tests.

Diess said Mueller "laid the groundwork" for Volkswagen's transformation.

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Mueller, a former chief executive of VW subsidiary Porsche AG, was brought in to replace Martin Winterkorn in 2015 and was contracted to serve until 2020.

On his watch, the VW group previous year held on to its title as the world's largest vehicle maker and made a net profit of ß11.4- billion (R169-billion).

"The Volkswagen Group is a union of strong brands with great potential".

The management shakeup included appointing an employee representative, Gunnar Kilian, as chief human resources manager. Porsche sports vehicle division head Oliver Blume was promoted to the top management body of the entire group. Meanwhile, Dr. Franciso Javier Garcia Sanz who has been the head of Procurement and the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the SEAT brand will be leaving the company.

His cost-cutting measures and other changes are seen at top levels to have been essential to the record earnings the auto group posted previous year.

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