Herbert Diess will officially resign from his position as chairman of the board and CEO of the Volkswagen Group at the end of today.
“Today is my last day as CEO of Volkswagen and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you again,” said Diess. “These have been the most rewarding seven years of my career. The future of our industry may be bright, but we need to change quickly. Volkswagen has already changed a lot and is well on the way.”
Diess effectively led the charge in Volkswagen’s electrification efforts, forcing the German automaker to move past its cloudy past implicated in the Dieselgate scandal, a controversy in which the company used cheat devices during emissions tests. Knowing that the company’s reputation and future were at stake, Diess urged VW to focus on EVs, leading to the automaker being recognized as No. 2 in the industry by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Company ID. platform of vehicles has quickly become one of the best-selling in the world. The ID.4 sold more than the Tesla Model 3 in July, CleanTechnica show data.
“We have transformed the company that was seen as an autocratic con man into a global thought leader in clean mobility,” said Diess, based on comments he received from VW fans after announcing his departure.
“I am grateful to all stakeholders and all employees for the opportunity to steer the company through partly turbulent waters, but with a clear direction: let’s shape mobility for generations to come,” Diess continues in his farewell message.
Diess began to withdraw from VW’s board in 2021 when he warned that a slow transition to electric vehicles could cost 30,000 workers their jobs. This was considered unfounded by the Volkswagen union and Diess was put before a rare mediation committee, where he was punished internally. Diess eventually said cutting jobs was not Volkswagen’s focus, but staying competitive and keeping pace with Tesla.
Volkswagen eventually scaled back Diess’ responsibilities as CEO of AG because of his comments.
However, it seemed that the damage had been done and the relationship was beyond salvage. End of July, German media outlet n-tv reported that Diess and Volkswagen had decided his time with the company would end at the end of August. Oliver Blume, the current head of VW brand Porsche, will assume the title of CEO of VW AG and replace Diess with immediate effect.
“Thank you all for the trust and feedback. Under Oliver’s leadership and a stronger than ever team of board members, I am confident the company will remain in a leadership position for as long as I can foresee,” said Diess.
Diess said that since announcing his departure from VW, he has received positive feedback about what his job for the automaker has turned out to be. “You’ve transformed Volkswagen into a thought leader in clean mobility,” a LinkedIn user told him. It’s the only compliment Diess mentioned, so he seems extremely proud of the work he’s done, and let’s face it, he should be.
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