Matthias Mueller named as new Volkswagen CEO

Embattled German carmaker Volkswagen officially named Porsche boss Matthias Mueller its new CEO on Friday.

He replaces Martin Winterkorn, who stepped down this week following revelations of the auto giant's manipulation of emission tests for its diesel cars. In a statement, Mueller said he wants to implement strict compliance standards while gaining back the trust the company has lost.

Matthias Mueller, CEO of Porsche AG attends the Porsche AG annual press conference on March 2015 in Stuttgart, Germany.
Thomas Niedermueller | Getty Images
Matthias Mueller, CEO of Porsche AG attends the Porsche AG annual press conference on March 2015 in Stuttgart, Germany.

The 62-year-old has been in the Volkswagen fold for years, working under the Audi brand from 1977 after studying information technology and toolmaking in his native Germany. At Audi, he headed system analysis, product management and later the Lamborghini product line, before moving to Volkswagen's Wolfsburg headquarters to lead VW's projects department.

At Volkswagen subsidiary Porsche, which he has led since 2010, Mueller is credited with helping deliver record revenue and profit, with deliveries jumping 17 percent in 2014 from a year earlier.

Mueller faces a tough job at the helm. Volkswagen will now try to navigate its way through civil suits and multinational investigations over allegations it deliberately tricked regulators who were testing emissions levels on diesel vehicles made between 2008 and 2015.

Volkswagen is said to have installed sophisticated software known as "defeat devices" that only turned on full emissions controls when it sensed official testing taking place, but otherwise emitted 10 to 40 times the legal amount while on the road. The issue was first brought to light by the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month, based on tests from West Virginia University.

Volkswagen estimates 11 million cars are affected worldwide. Mueller contended that Volkswagen vehicles never posed safety risks to consumers.

Winterkorn, who resigned as Volkswagen's CEO after a board meeting Wednesday, said he was shocked by the events and "stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group," according to a company statement.

Mueller's appointment ushers in a new leadership pairing, with former chief financial officer Hans Dieter Poetsch set tobecome chairman in November. Volkswagen is still searching for his replacement.

Former chairman Ferdinand Piech resigned in April after losing a leadership battle with Winterkorn.

Volkswagen also outlined a broader restructuring plan on Friday. Mueller will lead Volkswagen's sales on an interim basis.

Michael Horn will remain president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, but the company plans to change its operations in the region. It said the Volkswagen brand would have a new management structure, with four chief executives in as many regions.

The company announced that board member Christian Klingler will step down over strategy disagreements. However, it stressed that his departure was not related to the emissions issues.