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Volkswagen in search of new dawn 
Peter Schmidt | Editor

Published: Tue, 20th April 2018 18:35:18 GMT

Herbert DIess VW CEO 2018 Editorial AID

"If ever there was an idea whose time has finally come, it has to be genuine transparency and the dawn of a new beginning.

‘Big Change’, chiefly a new senior management made up mainly of untainted outsiders, was urgently needed - as preached repeatedly by Volkswagen critics.

 In true blitz-like manner, the start of this crucial change - albeit only for the new CEO - has now taken place. 

This took many outside observers by complete surprise. Not so much by the long-overdue change, but the out of the blue quick implementation. 

Fire-fighting Matthias Müller was replaced by Herbert Diess, who with immediate effect took the helm of Volkswagen’s slow-turning super-tanker. 

New CEO Diess, an outsider who less than three years ago joined Volkswagen from BMW, cannot be accused of having played any part in the highly toxic dieselgate scandal. 

In that respect he deserves to be seen as a genuinely innocent outsider, evidently fit to steer a new course for Volkswagen. 

In retrospect, backroom thinkers at Volkswagen, whose image has taken a severe hammering after the seismic shift triggered by Volkswagen’s deeply damaging dieselgate scandal, clearly decided that a new beginning would be best for the Volkswagen Group future. 

Time and time again Volkswagen’s top management was told by plain speaking outsiders that a new top level management team - sourced from outside - was urgently needed. 

However, for a desperately needed fresh start, the new CEO and eventual future top team members should arrive for the new task without any baggage of the past. So much for the theory. 

In best new broom manner, Herbert Diess took his appointment as an opportunity to make some further changes. 

Diess knows full well that the task of building a fresh new team at the top will take time and above all else, top-notch diplomacy in a company where deeply entrenched union members still wield enormous power. 

To his credit, unlike ultimately failing previous VW newcomers like Pischetsrieder and Bernhard, both highly talented and keen to transform VW into a leaner and more cost efficient company, Diess has survived operating in this treacherous minefield. 

This probably ranks as Diess’ biggest achievement, and probably ranks equally to walking on water. 

Having survived these two plus years at Volkswagen, cunning and highly capable Herbert Diess was clearly the one and only top candidate to take the helm at Volkswagen. 

Foremost, Diess’ simply remarkable leadership qualities and admirable diplomatic skills needed to gain the trust and prime-essential co-operation of VW’s mighty union, are such that in say a year or so from now, he might be surrounded by a fresh team of outside-sourced senior managers. 


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