VW Group America CEO Michael Horn to step down
German auto major Volkswagen Group has announced exit of Michael Horn as CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. Volkswagen is facing US regulatory investigation over emissions results rigging scandal. Hinrich J. Woebcken will be interim CEO for Volkswagen Group of America from 1 April 2016 onwards.
Major shuffle at top management position at Volkswagen came after six months since emissions scandal came into light. German-based global auto major has admitted that it installed manipulative software in 580,000 diesel vehicles sold in the US market. These diesel vehicles are proved to discharge excess emission higher than stipulated US norms without detection.
CNBC reports that Hinrich J. Woebcken will take charge as an interim CEO for Volkswagen Group of America. Volkswagen Group is still negotiating with California and Justice Department over fixing the cheating software or buyback of diesel vehicles.
Volkswagen in a statement said: "Horn will depart to pursue other opportunities effective immediately." Hinrich J. Woebcken will assume charges as an interim CEO for Volkswagen Group of America on 1 April 2016.
Michael Horn joined Volkswagen in 1990 and was President and CEO of America operations since January 2004. "During his tenure in the US, Michael Horn built up a strong relationship with our national dealer body and showed exemplary leadership during difficult times for the brand," said Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen brand, in a statement.
However, Volkswagen of America's Vice-President (marketing) Vinay Shahani will remain in his position. He has been V-P since 2013. Michael Horn's exit comes close on the heels of drop in sales volume in the US market. Volkswagen is still struggling to conclude any deal on emissions scandal and unable to settle the issue with US regulators, according to AdvertisingAge India.
Volkswagen's dealer council said in a statement: "The Volkswagen's National Dealer Advisory Council wants to acknowledge Michael for his leadership and strength through the continued mismanagement of the diesel scandal that has plagued our sales and reputation more than any other global market."
Michael Horn is known for its straight forwardness. He also played a key role in enhancing dealer profits and strong network with US retailers. Horn had been a favorite official among Volkswagen's US dealers, who term exit of Horn is a serious blow to Volkswagen's America operations, according to Digital Trends.
It's estimated that illegal cheating software has been installed in over 600,000 diesel vehicles of Volkswagen. Handling the issue after emissions scandal has been a major challenge for Volkswagen's management.