Volkswagen names Herbert Diess as new chief executive

See The Sketches And Clay Models Used To Create VW Atlas Tanoak

Senior works council members previous year had their salaries cut and bonuses suspended after public prosecutors investigated alleged overpayments at the carmaker, a move that labor leaders are blaming on Blessing, one source said.

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

Volkswagen is more complex than most of its peers, with the Porsche-Piech families de-facto controlling the manufacturer and the state of Lower-Saxony - home to the company's headquarters and VW's main factory - owning 20 per cent.

Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak design
Volkswagen announces Herbert Diess as new CEO

Volkswagen replaced Mueller after he failed to refocus the group's portfolio of auto brands, a key pillar of "Strategy 2025" to transform the company into a leader in cleaner cars after the diesel emissions scandal of 2015. 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). Amid opposition from labour leaders, he failed to sell motorbike maker Ducati a year ago.

The management shake-up signals VW's desire to move forward from the emissions scandal and revive its financial fortunes.

Mr Mueller, a former chief executive of VW subsidiary Porsche, was brought in to replace Martin Winterkorn.

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Also under discussion has been a possible spinoff of the company's truck and bus division, which builds Man and Scania units - news on that is set to follow, as well as a decision on whether to give workers unions a place on the management committee in a bid to try and unblock obstacles to reform.

"Diess is ready to weather conflict, which is important to make things happen in a company like Volkswagen", said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the University of Duisburg-Essen's Center for Automotive Research.

The automaker's share price has since recovered, but some lawsuits are still pending.

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It is not clear to what extent any restructuring plans for the Volkswagen Group - which includes the VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda brands - will be decided at the board meeting, expected to start at 1500 GMT and last late into the night.

Labour representatives at Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE are concerned by a sudden rush by the German carmaker's board to approve sweeping changes on Thursday, sources said, while Handelsblatt reported that its finance chief could step down.

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