Volkswagen said Tuesday it was considering replacing CEO Matthias Mueller as part of a management shake-up, and German news media reported Mueller's job would go to core Volkswagen brand head Herbert Diess.
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.
It said the result of the talks was "currently open" and that Mueller "showed his willingness to contribute" to the changes.
Originally contracted to serve until 2020, Mueller was stepping down "by mutual agreement, effective immediately", VW said in a statement released after a meeting of its supervisory board.
Volkswagen will carve out a trucks and buses division that includes MAN and Scania heavy-truck brands, the source said, adding that Volkswagen's MAN Turbo and Renk units would be put into a further division. As VW's chief executive officer, "conflict will be part of the program".
Volkswagen is expected to finalize major changes to its leadership and possibly its structure after a supervisory board meeting later Thursday.
Board Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said Muller had done "outstanding work" at a time when the company "faced the greatest challenge in its history". It's a sign of real change at VW.
The world's largest automaker is also preparing its truck and bus division for a potential listing.
"Diess is ready to weather conflict, which is important to make things happen in a company like Volkswagen", said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the University of Duisburg-Essen's Center for Automotive Research.
Including Mr Mueller, VW's management board totals nine people, with responsibilities ranging from purchasing to legal affairs to financing and human resources.
They seek to defend 100,000 VW jobs in Lower Saxony, while management wants to raise productivity and efficiency to bring it closer to rival Toyota (7203.T).
The Volkswagen empire owns the Ducati motorbike brand, Scania buses and trucks, passenger vehicle brands including Skoda, SEAT and Audi, as well as the Bentley, Porsche and Lamborghini luxury marques. Mr Mueller told German magazine Der Spiegel in March that he "doesn't like politicians meddling with my business", likening a discussion about a salary cap for executives to the oppressive system of the former German Democratic Republic.