Within the executive suites at every legacy automaker, there are pro-EV and anti-EV factions, which continually strive for mastery, like Zoroastrianism’s Asha and Druj. Now Volkswagen Group Chairman Herbert Diess, a staunch EV advocate, has apparently won a major boardroom battle, clearing the way for him to proceed with his progressive plans for the German giant.
As Electrek reports, there had been rumblings of discontent about Diess’s ambitious electrification strategy, so he decided to force a vote of confidence by asking Volkswagen’s Supervisory Board to extend his contract a couple of years earlier than planned. At a recent meeting, the board unanimously voted to continue to back Diess and his electrification plans.
Highlights of the board’s official statement: “The Supervisory Board values the determination and persistence that Herbert Diess has exhibited in pressing forward not only with technological changes and the contribution to the achievement of climate goals, but also with the financial results of the company. In the upcoming years, the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG will implement the strategy with Herbert Diess at the top. The Chairman of the Board of Management and his new Board of Management team have the Supervisory Board’s full support…when it comes to the new orientation towards electromobility and digitalization.”
Said Herr Diess: “Together we are rigorously pressing forward with the largest transformation in the history of Volkswagen. In the upcoming years, we will continue to invest in electromobility, digitalisation and battery technology.”
Arcane agreements in a boardroom may not seem as exciting as battery breakthroughs or new 0-60 records, but make no mistake: this is an important step forward for the e-mobility transition. As Electrek’s Fred Lambert put it, “Now, if there were any managers and execs at VW that were just hoping that Diess and his plan would go away, they will have to get on board or go away, because he is here to stay.”
Representatives of VW’s employees were also included in the decision. “There is total agreement between the Supervisory Board, the Board of Management and the employee representatives on the Group’s consistent orientation towards our strategic transformation objectives, said Bernd Osterloh, Chairman of the Volkswagen Group Works Council (roughly, the German equivalent of a labor union). “In the course of the implementation, everyone involved continues to espouse the equal status of profitability and safeguarding of jobs, as well as the importance of training.”
“In the medium term, the Group headquarters in Wolfsburg is to become the pioneering factory for the highly automated manufacture of electric vehicles,” VW announced, adding that Group intends to set up a new initiative “similar to the Artemis project at Audi, which bundles all activities from the development of the vehicle up to production.”