Volkswagen supervisory board will elect new CEO soon

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PREVIOUS STORY: FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - Volkswagen Group says it is contemplating a management reshuffle that raises questions about CEO Matthias Mueller's future with the company.

Volkswagen on Tuesday issued a cryptic statement saying Mueller has "showed his general willingness" to contribute to changes to the CEO job as part of a review of the group's management structure.

Volkswagen said it was breaking the business into six new vehicle divisions and a special portfolio for the China region. The success of Diess' plans hinges on the approval of the Volkswagen supervisory board which is scheduled to meet on Friday.

VW also said works council executive Gunnar Kilian would replace Karlheinz Blessing as human resources chief.

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The fourth group, truck and bus, isn't a different tier so much as an entirely different sales channel.

Mueller had "signalled he was open to play a part in the changes" in conversations with supervisory board chief Hans Dieter Poetsch, the company said.

The company announced Thursday that CEO Matthias Mueller was stepping down and will be replaced by Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess. At VW, his major accomplishment seems to have been developing a close working relationship with the company's powerful unions.

At recent public events, the CEO has appeared strained and prickly, a contrast to his previous persona as the easygoing boss of the Porsche auto brand - the job he held before being tapped for CEO in the chaotic days following the cheating revelations in September 2015. It has promised more than 80 new electric and plug-in hybrid models by 2025.

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But he has himself landed in prosecutors' sights over suspicions he may have known about the cheating before it became public and failed in his duty to inform investors.

The automaker's share price has since recovered, but some lawsuits are still pending.

It was the ideal time for Diess to arrive - the Dieselgate scandal was just about to blow up, but unlike any of his peers at the company he was not tainted by association. Blume will also take a seat on Volkswagen Group's management board.

Dieselgate has so far cost VW more than 25 billion euros ($31 billion) in buybacks, fines and compensation, and the carmaker remains mired in legal woes at home and overseas. Mr Diess joined VW from German rival BMW in mid-2015, shortly before the scandal erupted publicly. Diess, a former BMW research and development executive, will oversee group development and research, and vehicle connectivity.

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"Diess is a man of action, he is the most plausible choice at VW to lead the group into the next phase of its transformation", said Nord LB analyst Frank Schwope, who has a buy rating on Volkswagen.