Exclusive VW CEO Müller To Stay, Finds New Head for North America Business

Volkswagen Chief Executive Matthias Müller has the support of the company’s non-executive supervisory board following the panel’s meeting on Tuesday, Handelsblatt has learned. The six-member supervisory board accepted Mr. Müller’s explanation of the PR disaster that accompanied his recent trip to the United States, when he called the Dieselgate emissions-rigging scandal a “technical problem” in an interview, then asked to rerecord the interview. The discussions during Tuesday’s meeting were “intense,” one participant told Handelsblatt, who added that the atmosphere was calm and that there had not been any clashes. The supervisory board accepted Mr. Müller’s explanation that his slip during the interview was caused by difficult and unusual circumstances, including loud noises from the Detroit car show, though the listeners were not happy about it, the source said. The supervisory board members reportedly agreed that other issues, such as fines relating to the Dieselgate scandal and the planned restructuring at Volkswagen, are more pressing at present. Mr. Müller may have achieved some success with his restructuring plans. According to Germany’s Manager-Magazin, Volkswagen wants to make the former BMW manager Hinrich Woebcken head of its business in the United States. VW refused to comment on the report. Mr. Müller’s struggles continue: on Thursday, he will meet E.U. industry commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska, to discuss possible compensation for VW customers in Europe.