VW hires BMW exec Diess to lead core car brand
MUNICH -- Volkswagen Group has appointed BMW development chief Herbert Diess to its management board.
Diess, 56, will take over as chairman of the Volkswagen passenger car brand from CEO Martin Winterkorn, effective Oct. 1, 2015, VW said in a statement today.
Winterkorn will remain CEO of the group, which also includes the Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini brands, the company said.
"With Herbert Diess we will be welcoming an outstanding personality and one of the most capable minds in the automotive industry to our company. At the same time, this step puts the executive management of both the group and the brand on an even broader footing," Winterkorn said in the statement.
Diess has a doctorate in mechanical engineering. He joined BMW from supplier Robert Bosch in 1996 and has served on the automaker's management board since October 2007. He was named an Automotive News Europe Eurostar this year for his role in the launch of BMW's new â€œi“ models."This is big and good news for VW," Evercore ISI's global automotive research head, Arndt Ellinghorst, said in a note to investors.
Diess is "very well respected and well known for his direct and straight management style,"Â Ellinghorst said, adding that Diess's appointment will help VW brand as it targets increasing its profit margin to 6 percent from 2.3 percent.
Diess's move to VW also will position him as a potential successor to Winterkorn as VW Group CEO, Ellinghorst said.
VW's hiring of Diess means that the VW Group and VW brand CEO functions will be separated. Winterkorn currently holds both jobs. Industry watchers have criticized Winterkorn's dual role of running the group and its most important brand as being too much for one person to manage.
Diess is the second management board-level executive that Volkswagen has lured over from a rival German carmaker this year. VW hired Andreas Renschler away from Daimler to become its truck division chief. Renschler starts his new job on Feb. 1, 2015.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report
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