Volkswagen’s US CEO steps down amid diesel scandal image

The head of the Volkswagen Group in the United States – Michael Horn – suddenly resigns amid automaker’s struggle to strike a deal with the regulators six months after the emissions disclosures.

Nearly six months have passed since Volkswagen has admitted that it cheated on the emissions test and a recall plan for the affected cars in the United States is still far from being approved by the regulators. Amid this struggle, Volkswagen Group of America announced on Wednesday that its president and chief executive officer Michael Horn has stepped down. “Through mutual agreement with Volkswagen AG, Horn will be leaving to pursue other opportunities effective immediately,” the company said in a statement. On an interim basis, Hinrich J. Woebcken, who was recently announced as the new Head of the North American Region and Chairman of Volkswagen Group of America, will assume the role of president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. In January, VW named Woebcken as head of VW’s North American region, effective April 1.

Michael Horn assumed the role as president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America in January 2014 and has over twenty five years of experience with the company. Prior to his current role, Horn served as the Global Head of After Sales at Volkswagen. Horn joined the German automaker in 1990 and has held many roles of responsibility within the brand over his tenure, including Head of Volkswagen sales North West Europe, Head of sales and marketing luxury class vehicles, and Head of sales for Europe.

His departure comes as VW continues to negotiate with California, the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency on possible fixes or buybacks for the over-polluting diesels. It faces a March 24 deadline to tell a federal judge whether it has found an acceptable technical solution.