Cost-cutting former BMW exec said to be next in line
Matthias Mueller, CEO of the Volkswagen Group, could be replaced by as soon as this Friday, if a report out of Germany proves to be correct.
According to Handelsblatt, current Mueller will be removed from his role as CEO, even though his contract runs until 2020.
In response to the story, the company used a statement overnight to say it is considering "potential further development in the management structure in the Volkswagen Group and potential personnel changes in the Board of Management".
Volkswagen says its chairman "is currently in discussions with certain members" of both of its supervisory and management boards, and "Matthias Mueller showed his general willingness to contribute to the changes".
Mueller was elevated from his role as Porsche CEO just days after the Dieselgate emissions cheating scandal broke in late 2015, replacing Martin Winterkorn.
Since taking over, Mueller has aggressively shifted the company's focus towards electric vehicles.
Sources close to the board have told Reuters Mueller has become frustrated with the lack of support for his plans to reform the company.
Handelsblatt understands Mueller will be replaced by Herbert Diess, who currently heads up the Volkswagen passenger car brand. Prior to joining the Wolfsburg-based automaker in 2015, Diess was BMW's head of development, and is widely credited with slashing costs.
Volkswagen has been keen to improve its profit margin from around 2.5 per cent to something closer to what Toyota achieves.
The German business publication believes Mueller's ouster is being engineered by the company's major shareholders, including the Porsche and Piech families, the German state of Lower Saxony, and Qatar, who are all keen for a reboot after the Dieselgate affair.
Despite the ongoing bad press and multi-billion dollar fines from the scandal, the Volkswagen Group managed to sell a record 10,521,500 passenger and light commercial vehicles last year.
MORE: Dieselgate coverage