FRANKFURT — Volkswagen Group named Ralf Brandstaetter as VW brand CEO, promoting him from his current role as the brand’s chief operating officer.
The change means that VW Group CEO Herbert Diess gives up his role as VW brand CEO. The change will give Diess, 61, more time to focus on his tasks as group CEO, VW said Monday in a news release.
In Brandstaetter, 51, VW’s supervisory board has picked a company veteran to head its core brand. Porsche CEO Oliver Blume was also a contender for the post.
Brandstaetter, a German national, joined VW in 1993. He was promoted to brand COO from head of purchasing in 2018.
The leadership discussion comes at a time when VW is attempting to negotiate painful cost cuts at the VW brand with the company’s powerful labor representatives.
Diess has embarked on radical reforms of the group, which includes the Audi, Seat, Skoda, Audi, Porsche and Bentley brands, but has run into opposition from the labor side.
He has come under fire after VW was forced to halt sales of its newest Golf because of software glitches at a time the company is preparing to mass produce VW’s ID3 electric car.
Diess has been pushing to cut costs in Germany to help pay for a 34 billion euro ($38 billion) investment in electric and autonomous cars and 50 billion euros for EV battery procurement.
In addition to forcing VW to embark on a radical electrification strategy in the wake of the carmaker’s diesel-cheating scandal, Diess appointed BMW manager Markus Duesmann as the head of Audi.
Diess was appointed head of the VW brand in 2015 after defecting from BMW and then climbed to the position of group chief executive in April 2018.