Matthias Müller, the CEO of Porsche, has been named the new CEO of Volkswagen in the wake of the automaker's emissions scandal.
Volkswagen also announced today it was reorganizing the company's North American operations. "The markets in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada will be combined and significantly strengthened to form a new North America region," the company said in a statement. Berthold Huber, interim chairman of Volkswagen's supervisory board, said in the announcement that the reorganization was necessary to "standardize and harmonize" production processes, and "lay the foundations for efficient deicision-making" to become "faster and more agile."
The scandal began on Monday with the U.S. EPA's announcement that it had found VW had deliberately installed "defeat devices" in 482,000 new cars to flout emissions rules. By midweek, the scandal had brought about the resignation of CEO Martin Winterkorn.
Müller, 62, will continue as chairman of Porsche AG in Stuttgart, part of the Volkswagen Group, until a successor has been found.
"My most urgent task is to win back trust for the Volkswagen Group – by leaving no stone unturned and with maximum transparency, as well as drawing the right conclusions from the current situation," Müller said in a statement. "Under my leadership, Volkswagen will do everything it can to develop and implement the most stringent compliance and governance standards in our industry. If we manage to achieve that ..., then the Volkswagen Group... has the opportunity to emerge from this crisis stronger than before."
Huber said that Müller "knows the Group and its brands well and can immediately engage in his new task with full energy. We expressly value his critical and constructive approach."
Müller has spent his entire career with various Volkswagen brands. A native of the town of Chemnitz in central Germany, he apprenticed as a toolmaker with Audi AG during high school, then studied computer science at Munich University of Applied Sciences. After obtaining his master's degree in computer science, he resumed his career with AUDI AG in Ingolstadt in 1978, becoming Head of the Systems Analysis Division in 1984 and Head of Project Management for the Audi A3 in 1993. He assumed responsibility for Product Management at Audi AG, SEAT and Lamborghini in 1995.
Müller moved to Wolfsburg as head of product management of the Volkswagen Group and the Volkswagen brand in 2007 and also became a general representative of the Volkswagen Group. He has been Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG and a member of the Executive Board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE since 2010. As chairman of Porsche AG, Müller was appointed member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG in March.
Müller's current contract as a Board member of Volkswagen AG, which runs through February 2020, will continue to apply in his new function as CEO.