Müller replaces Martin Winterkorn, who resigned after the Environmental Protection Agency notified Volkswagen that 482,000 cars in the U.S. used an illegal “defeat device” to cheat emissions.
In a statement Müller said that restoring trust in the automaker would be his first priority:
My most urgent task is to win back trust for the Volkswagen Group – by leaving no stone unturned and with maximum transparency, as well as drawing the right conclusions from the current situation.
Before becoming CEO at Porsche, Müller led the Audi and Lamborghini brands after a long career at Audi. Müller, who is 62 years old, started at Audi in 1977. Industry insiders say that Müller will be seen as a rank-and-file friendly CEO whose monumental task may be helped by leveraging Porsche’s influence on the brand overall.
“In the past, Porsche has had a disproportionately favorable impact on the overall portfolio performance of the Volkswagen,” Jeff Thinnes, a former Mercedes Benz executive, told ABC News. “Expect to see the Porsche influence increase significantly throughout the highest echelons of the company.”
Michael Horn, CEO of Volkswagen of America, will remain, but he will now report to Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland, previously the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Škoda, “who in this new role becomes a member of the Volkswagen brand Board of Management” responsible for North America (United States, Canada and Mexico), Volkswagen said in a statement.