Herbert Diess will stay on as Volkswagen’s CEO even though he has been stripped of his chairman’s role and will have less oversight of the group.
In a surprise announcement, the chairman of the supervisory board, Ferdinand Piech, said Diess would be allowed to stay at the helm and continue his work.
Diess was replaced by Matthias Mueller, who will take the title of chairman and become the second most powerful man at the company after the head of the supervisory board.
“Herbert Diess will remain C.E.O. and shall continue his work,” Piech wrote in a statement. “As chairman he will take a more active role in the improvement of governance at Volkswagen. Even more so will he observe the rules of greater transparency.”
Despite continuing to serve as VW’s head of management board, Diess will only have the authority to act on the “directives” of the supervisory board, Piech added.
The move comes just a day after the Lada maker — which over the past decade has paid billions in fines, fines, fines and penalties for air pollution pollution — said it had launched a “reorganization.”
“We want to refocus and reshape our business on core areas of strength,” the company said. It added that it aims to make its core business even stronger than before.
Diess’ power was restored after Piech, who had pushed him out of his position in 2015, went into early retirement.
When Piech took on the CEO role in the 1980s, the company was struggling after it was caught using emissions software to cheat on pollution tests.