Porsche names new chief in wake of VW emissions scandal


Berlin (dpa) – Volkswagen’s luxury sports carmaker Porsche on Wednesday named its production head Oliver Blume as its new chief executive as part of a shakeout of the VW group’s management after the exhaust emissions scandal.

Porsche’s supervisory board said the 47-year Blume will succeed Matthias Mueller, who was last week appointed the VW’s group new chief executive after the company was plunged into a crisis following revelations it had equipped its diesel-powered vehicles with software designed to evade emissions tests.

The Porsche announcement comes as members of VW’s powerful five-member presidium of the supervisory board – consisting of shareholder, union and management representatives – gather for a meeting at the group’s sprawling headquarters in the northern German city of Wolfsburg.

The board is expected once again to take stock of the scandal that has wiped off about one third of the company’s value over the last week after the group said that about 11 million vehicles worldwide could have been fitted with the illegal software.

The embattled carmaker has already begun telling customers how it plans to modify the software.

“We have developed a number of solutions, in particular, of course, with the customer as the focus,” said VW brand chief Herbert Diess after he briefed the European Commission in Brussels on the affair.

He said cost of the scandal could still not be estimated by the carmaker.

VW plans to modify about 1.2 million diesel vehicles alone in Britain following the scandal, the company said on Wednesday.

Mueller took over from Martin Winterkorn, who stepped down as VW group chief executive to take responsibility for the scandal.

VW said that several other top executives have also been sent on leave following the scandal.

Wolfgang Hatz, who heads up research and development at Porsche, is also thought to be facing an uncertain future, company officials told dpa.

Porsche’s high-performance vehicles have so far not been mentioned as being caught up in the emissions scandal, which first broke out in the US nearly two weeks ago.

A 20-year-old VW group veteran, Blume has headed up Porsche’s development and logistics division for the past two years. He is due to take up his new post on Thursday.

Porsche, which is one of the VW’s 12 brands, is a key profit engine for VW, contributing about 20 per cent to the company’s overall earnings in 2014.