Thursday, January 11, 2007

Winterkorn's restructuring plans approved by board

No doubt the biggest news today was the resignation of Wolfgang Bernhard. But that was just one of the things on the agenda at a meeting among Volkswagen's bigwigs at Wolfsburg. The meeting was held to pass Martin Winterkorn's restructuring plan of the company's Board of Management and the Group Executive Committee, whatever those are. The meeting made a litany of appointments, with Winterkorn garnering another responsibility in the company.

One curious statement which can be found on the press release is the disbandment of the Volkswagen and Audi brand groups. This may be the previously announced plan for separating the brands between volume and premium groups.

Details after the jump.

Source: Volkswagen AG.
- New areas of responsibility on Board of Management and Executive Committee ensure synergies and opportunities for growth for the entire company

- Supervisory Board agrees to Prof. Dr. Winterkorn’s plans for restructuring Group

- Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard leaves Board of Management of Volkswagen AG


WOLFSBURG, Germany - In a meeting today, the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG agreed unanimously to the plans of Chairman of the Board Prof. Dr. Winterkorn for the restructuring of the Board of Management and the Group Executive Committee. With this move, the Supervisory Board opens the way for even greater synergies within the Group.

The Brand groups which have existed up to now, Volkswagen (comprising Volkswagen, Skoda, Bentley and Bugatti) and Audi (including Audi, Seat and Lamborghini) will be disbanded.

The Group Board of Management

Dr. rer. pol. Wolfgang Bernhard, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Brand and Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, will, by mutual consent, be leaving the company with effect from 31.01.07 as a result of the reallocation of responsibilities within the Volkswagen Group. As of this date, Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn will be taking over the chairmanship of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Brand in addition to his other tasks.

A new area of responsibility, Group Research and Development, will be created. It will be led by Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, in addition to his other tasks.

A new area of responsibility Group Production will be led by Dr. Jochem Heizmann with effect from 01.02.07. Heizmann was previously responsible for production at the Audi brand.

The third new area of responsibility is Group Sales. The holder of this position will be decided at a later date. The responsibility for volumes, revenue and earnings remains fully with the brands.

Other changes within the Group and Brand

Stephan Grühsem has been appointed the new Head of Group Communications and, as a new member of the Group Management, will be appointed General Representative of Volkswagen AG with effect from 01.02.07. The departments Group Investor Relations and Group External Relations will be integrated into Group Communications. Grühsem was previously Head of Corporate Communications at Audi AG; he will initially be taking on the new responsibilities in addition to his previously held post.

Dr. Ulrick Hackenberg has been appointed Member of the Board of Management with responsibility for Development for the Volkswagen brand with effect from 01.02.07. He will be taking over this position from Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard who previously held this position. Hackenberg was previously Head of Concept Development, Body Development, Electronics and Electrical Systems.

Dr. Werner Neubauer, previously General Representative of Volkswagen AG, responsible for the Components Division, will be appointed Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand with responsibility for Components with effect from 01.02.07.

MAN offer

The Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG has rejected the MAN offer to take over Scania. It has requested that the Board of Management works on a friendly merger of Scania and MAN.

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