The change will give Diess, who has been pushing the company ahead with a shift toward zero-emission vehicles and a new, more environmentally friendly image, more time to focus on the overall brand, which includes Audi, Porsche and Skoda, the company said.
“The goal is a stronger focus on the respective tasks from the top of the group and brand in the ongoing transformation phase of the automobile industry,” VW said. Diess and Board Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch had been charged by German prosecutors with securities-law violations for allegedly failing to tell investors in time about the company's looming diesel scandal in 2015. The charges were dropped last month in return for a 9 million-euro ($10 million) payment, with no admission of guilty from the two.
Volkswagen was caught using software to evade U.S. emissions requirements for diesel cars. The scandal cost the company 31 billion euros ($34 billion) in fines and settlements. Diess took over as head of the VW brand in 2015, coming from BMW, and worked his way up to CEO of the group in 2018.