Volkswagen looks for new CEO - image

The Volkswagen Group is looking to find a new replacement for its chief position as Martin Winterkorn handed in his resignation yesterday.

The head of the German carmaker for the past eight years, Winterkorn quit his role in the middle of a diesel emissions cheating scandal for which the brand is facing criminal charges.

The possible successors will be debated on Friday in a board meeting and the list includes Porsche’s unit head Matthias Mueller who benefits from the support of his family members who own a majority stake in Volkswagen. Mueller is joined by Herbert Diess, a former BMW executive who became the German carmaker’s brand leader this year.

Since last Friday, the scandal involving VW’s cars which had software installed on purpose to defeat emission test led to the company losing already $22.4 billion off its market value. The new CEO will have to take care of the big mess VW is in and change consumer’s perspective on the brand’s sincerity and products.

Mueller has been the leader of Porsche since 2010 and could end up as an interim CEO in order to create some balance for Volkswagen until a final candidate gets chosen, according to Arndt Ellinghorst, an analyst from the Evercore ISI in London.

Guenter Lach, a Christian Democrat lawmaker who worked at VW for four decades said that Winterkorn’s departure “was necessary for the company, for the workers, for the region, for Germany’s car industry, but it’s only a first step. Volkswagen has been shaken to the core. The company now stands at the beginning of a long, painful series of corrective actions.”

If Mueller gets the interim CEO position, he could then be replaced by Diess and also by Volkswagen’s trucks chief, Andreas Renschler. Another potential successor for the head of VW could be Winfried Vahland, the CEO of the Czech carmaker Skoda, as an analyst with the Commerzbank in Frankfurt stated.