VW to discuss new appointments to management board: sources

FILE PHOTO: Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess attends a construction completion event of SAIC Volkswagen MEB electric vehicle plant in Shanghai

HAMBURG (Reuters) – Volkswagen’s supervisory board is due to discuss a reshuffle of the company’s management board on Thursday, two people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, as the world’s largest carmaker seeks to defuse a leadership crisis.

Chief Executive Herbert Diess this month demanded a vote of confidence in his reform efforts by asking stakeholders to back his proposals for management board appointments in addition to a contract extension for himself.

Supervisory board members want to avoid a premature discussion about giving Diess another term in office, but key directors have endorsed a discussion centred on his proposals for appointments to the management board, the sources said.

“We have a blueprint proposal on personnel, which is due to be discussed at the company’s supervisory board,” one of the sources said, referring to potential management board appointments.

Volkswagen declined to comment.

Diess has attempted to install Arno Antlitz as chief financial officer to replace Frank Witter, who is due to retire in June, and to hire Thomas Schmall as management board member responsible for components, replacing Stefan Sommer, who has already left the company, sources told Reuters.

As part of the latest discussions, directors are due to debate dividing Sommer’s responsibilities for procurement and components and to hand responsibility for procurement to Murat Aksel, the second source said on Tuesday.

The appointments had been delayed because VW’s labour leaders, who command half the seats on the company’s board of directors, had insisted on approving a “package solution”, two people familiar with the deliberations told Reuters last week.

Separating responsibility for procurement and components may help to win over directors to endorse replenishing the management board at the meeting on Thursday.

Volkswagen Group, which includes the Audi, Porsche, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti and Seat brands, could also create a new board position for information technology (IT) and software, the second source said.

“We are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to discuss a comprehensive proposal,” the second source told Reuters on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Jan Schwartz; Writing by Edward Taylor; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)