Volkswagen is one-third of the way through its cultural transformation, claimed chief executive Matthias Müller in an interview with Handelsblatt. Launched in response to the disastrous diesel emissions scandal, wide-ranging changes in culture and structure seek to make the company more open, flexible and future-minded.
Mr. Müller’s tenure as chief executive has been dominated by the Dieselgate scandal, which broke out after it was revealed that Europe’s largest carmaker had systematically distorted diesel emissions data for years. Since he took over, exactly two years ago, the sheer weight of related problems has limited any radical vision for the future. Now he wants things to change, starting with the centralized and hierarchical mindset that still dominates the company.
Change will mean getting rid of a lot of dead wood. Already, many middle-ranking managers tainted by the scandal have been pushed out, along with senior managers at VW-owned Audi, seen as the origin of the scandal. So far, Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler has kept his job, although some on the VW supervisory board question how long he can remain.