Volkswagen has promoted its chief operating officer, Ralf Brandstätter, to the role of brand CEO. He will replace Herbert Diess, who was previously in charge of both the brand and the overall Volkswagen Group.
The appointment will allow Diess “greater leeway for his tasks as group CEO”, Volkswagen claims, focusing on the top-level tasks while Brandstätter manages day-to-day Volkswagen brand operations.
Described as “one of the company’s most experienced managers” by Diess, Brandstätter started as a shopfitter at a Volkswagen plant in Braunschweig, Germany.
After studying industrial engineering, he joined the Volkswagen Group in 1993, eventually becoming an assistant to the board of management. After stints in metal procurement for components and as a project manager for new vehicles, he moved to Spain in 2005 to head up procurement and eventually purchasing at Seat.
Brandstätter was appointed to the Volkswagen Group board of management in 2015 before becoming Volkswagen's COO in 2018. Diess said he has played a “key role in shaping the transformation of the brand".
The appointment counters reports from Germany last week of a substantial management reshuffle across the group. The report claimed Porsche CEO Oliver Blume would become Volkswagen brand boss, with Skoda boss Bernhard Maier filling Blume’s vacated role. It remains unclear if any other group brands will enact management changes now Blume has stayed put.
Brandstätter will be overseeing a transformative period in Volkswagen's history, with a substantial investment in electrification and the target of 1.5 million EVs sold by 2025. He will officially start in his new role next month.