Report: Porsche CEO will take charge at VW

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Porsche CEO Matthias Müller will be the new CEO at Volkswagen.

A Porsche representative in Germany told Business Insider that the carmaker would not comment on any personnel speculations.

The VW Group’s supervisory board is scheduled to meet on Friday, however, at which time a new CEO will most likely be named to succeed Martin Winterkorn, who resigned on Wednesday because of an emissions-cheating scandal the company says has affected 11 billion vehicles worldwide.

Additional VW executives may resign or be replaced on Friday, Reuters reported on Thursday. VW also labeled those reports as speculation.

Müller has been widely mentioned as a Winterkorn replacement. In fact, during a VW management crisis earlier this year, when Winterkorn’s destiny was in doubt, Müller indicated that he would be happy to take the job. He was seen as the favorite of then-chairman Ferdinand Piëch, but Winterkorn was able to survive, briefly as it turns out. Piëch left the VW board.

VW’s supervisory board is made up of VW Group executives; representatives of the government of the German state of Lower Saxony, where VW is headquartered; the unions for the VW workforce; and, notably, members of the Porsche family. VW was effectively founded by Ferdinand Porsche, who created the original “People’s Car” in the World War II period.

This puts Müller in an advantageous position. He has also run Porsche at a time when its performance in the US and in emerging markets has contrasted with VW’s weak market position in the US, where the automaker holds only 2% market share.

Porsche sells far fewer cars globally than VW, but the brand is particularly strong in the US and has successfully transitioned from selling expensive sports cars to selling luxury SUVs and sedans.

In 2009, Porsche actually attempted to take over VW. The effort attracted widespread attention because of the financial engineering that Porsche’s leadership engaged in at the time. But the effort ultimately failed.