FRANKFURT, June 9 — Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess apologised to the company’s supervisory board for having made “inappropriate and wrong” statements at an internal event, the carmaker said today.
The public acknowledgment that Diess had been forced to apologise to the 19-member board of directors amounts to a severe admonishment of Diess, who had his portfolio of responsibilities curtailed yesterday.
“The members of the Supervisory Board accepted the apology of Dr Diess, and will continue to support him in his work,” the statement added.
Volkswagen replaced Diess as chief executive of the VW brand yesterday and installed chief operating officer Ralf Brandstaetter to lead cost cutting efforts at the company’s largest plants in Germany.
Diess, who has been in the top job at Volkswagen since 2018, remains chief executive of a group which also includes brands such as Audi, Bentley, Skoda, Lamborghini and Porsche.
The incident appears to follow a pattern at the carmaker where board members lose backing if their cost cutting and efficiency measures threaten too many local jobs, prompting the company’s powerful labour leaders to flex their muscles.
Bernd Pischetsrieder, Volkswagen Group Chief Executive between 2002 and 2006, and Wolfgang Bernhard, VW brand chief between 2005 and 2007 were forced out of their jobs after repeated clashes with VW’s works council.
Worker representatives control nine seats on the 19-member supervisory board at Volkswagen. — Reuters