Apr 10, 2018

Volkswagen on cusp of replacing its CEO

Photo: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Volkswagen is set to replace its CEO Matthias Müller, who took the reins after the "diesel-gate" emissions scandal broke in 2015, with senior VW executive Herbert Diess, according to The Wall Street Journal and other outlets.

Why it matters: VW is the world's largest automaker and has been moving aggressively into vehicle electrification, including last month's announcement of plans to expand electric vehicle production capacity to 16 factories over the next five years.

The intrigue: Per the WSJ, "Such a change would mark a surprising turn of events for Mr. Müller, who was credited with steering the world’s biggest car maker by sales through its most difficult crisis, accelerating its strategy to develop electric vehicles and self-driving cars, and returning it to robust profits."

The big picture: “I think that Müller was a good person to transition the company and settle everybody down after this huge scandal,” Rebecca Lindland, an executive analyst with Kelley Blue Book, tells Axios.

  • “This is less of a sweeping change by and of the board and more about making some adjustments and fine tuning roles two-and-a-half years after the initial diesel-gate scandal,” she added.

What's next: “I don’t anticipate a significant change in Volkswagen’s strategy on electrification of their fleet,” Lindland said.

  • It's a key strategy for meeting emissions and fuel economy regulations worldwide — and in the U.S. specifically.
  • Another factor driving their decision-making: VW is undertaking a multi-billion dollar electric vehicle charging infrastructure effort nationwide as part of the wider U.S. settlement of the scandal over its use of software in large numbers of vehicles to enable evasion of pollution rules.
  • Overall, “There are regulatory reasons and of course there are legal reasons why they cannot back away from electrification,” Lindland said.

Meet the new boss: Via Bloomberg, "In tapping the 59-year-old Diess for the top job, Volkswagen would elevate a senior executive from its own ranks, while handing the reins to someone who was not at the automaker when the diesel cheating took place. Diess joined VW from German rival BMW AG in mid 2015, shortly before the scandal erupted publicly."

Go deeper

Making sense of the UN's climate conference coronavirus delay

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The scuttling of November's pivotal UN climate conference is the starkest sign yet of how coronavirus is throwing a wrench into efforts to combat global warming. But like the wider relationship between the coronavirus and climate initiatives, the ramifications are ... complicated.

Driving the news: UN officials announced Wednesday that the annual summit to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, is postponed until some unknown time next year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 952,171 — Total deaths: 48,320 — Total recoveries: 202,541Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 216,722 — Total deaths: 5,137 — Total recoveries: 8,672Map.
  3. Stimulus updates: Social Security recipients won't need to file a tax return to receive their checks.
  4. Jobs update: 6.6 million people filed for unemployment last week, a staggering number that eclipses the record set on March 26.
  5. Health updates: The Trump administration won't reopen enrollment for ACA marketplaces this year.
  6. National updates: The Grand Canyon closed after a resident tested positive for coronavirus.
  7. World update: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu re-entered self-quarantine after his health minister tested positive for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

The weirdest NBA draft ever

Table: Axios Visuals

The 2020 NBA draft was already shaping up to be the weirdest draft in years, and now that the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the sports world, it could be the weirdest draft ever.

Why it matters: While most drafts have a clear hierarchy by the time April rolls around, this draft does not. There's no reliable No. 1 pick, almost every top-10 prospect has a glaring weakness and the global sports hiatus has shrouded the whole class in mystery.

Go deeperArrow49 mins ago - Sports