Volkswagen AG’s series of executive shakeups is reaching its heavy-truck divisionTraton SE, with the surprise departure of the unit’s chief raising questions about its future strategy.
Andreas Renschler will leave VW’s management board effective July 15 and be replaced by Matthias Gruendler, the former chief financial officer of the Munich-based truck unit, according to astatement Tuesday.
Traton management board member Joachim Drees, who leads the MAN trucks business, also will leave his post, as will personnel chief Carsten Intra.
VW group has made several management changes over the past weeks amid internal tension over how to execute an ambitious plan to launch the industry’s largest push into electric cars while coping with the biggest industry slump in decades.Tesla Inc. zoomed past the industrial giant in terms of market capitalization early this year and now has more than tripled VW’s market valuation despite selling a fraction as many vehicles.
Former VW brand Chief Operating Officer Ralf Brandstaetter was promoted to the brand chief position last month after group Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess lost direct control following a clash with key supervisory board members. VW brand development chief Matthias Rabe moved to the British luxury-car marque Bentley and VW group purchasing chief Stefan Sommer abruptly left the manufacturer.
The new CEO of VW’s Audi brand Markus Duesmann, who took over at the group’s premium-car unit in April, plans toaccelerate a restructuring push to restore profit margins.
VW pushed through an initial public offering of Traton last year after some back-and-forth that dragged on for months, but proceeds fell short of expectations.
Traton also made a takeover offer for U.S. peerNavistar International Corp. earlier this year. VW officials have signaled the strategic logic for the deal remains intact but have sent mixed signals about when and under what conditions the deal might go ahead.
Navistar shares slumped following Traton’s announcement, falling as much as 5.9% to $27.17 as of 3:45 p.m. Tuesday in New York.
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