Family Man: VW's Chief Strategy Officer Abandons Ship for Smart Boats

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
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family man vw s chief strategy officer abandons ship for smart boats

Volkswagen’s strategy chief since 2015, Michael Jost (59), has announced that he will be departing after more than a decade with the company. While the cynics among us will undoubtedly jump to conclusions about the botched launches of VW Group’s new EVs and the all-important Mk8 Golf, the man himself claimed that his primary reason for leaving is to ensure the wellbeing of his family.

Jost confessed via his website that he’s only been spending weekends with his kindred since 1996 and would ideally like to make that a full-time position. A year under COVID restrictions apparently made the man reassess his life, resulting in his decision to abandon his demanding role at VW.

While admirable and genuinely endearing, we’re still wondering if Volkswagen didn’t nudge him a bit. Not that the glut of software issues that plagued the launch of the automakers I.D. branded vehicles are his fault, but it’s handy to have someone to blame in the business world and Jost was a vocal advocate for transitioning the company toward electric vehicles and software development. That’s speculative, however, as the manufacturer has yet to make any official statement about the management change.

German publication Manager Magazin appears to have been the first outlet to verify the staffing shakeup with insiders. Jost reportedly e-mailed select colleagues about his departure ahead of time. There were also rumors that he had butted heads of the works council over the products VW would be moving on and which factories would be eligible to manufacturer them. By prioritizing EVs, there were fears that jobs would be lost since they typically utilize fewer moving parts and require fewer man-hours for final assembly.

Volkswagen has not given any hint that it’s slowing down on EV development, however. Last week, VW CEO Ralf Brandstätter stated that the brand had actually decided to accelerate things. Volkswagen originally planned to have 35 percent of all sales be electric by 2030. The new strategy pushes that number up to a whopping 70 percent.

“Volkswagen is taking responsibility for the climate and will significantly exceed the planned EU regulation,” he said. But he also claimed that the company was in the best position to “winning the race” of digitization and electrification, arguing that VW was actually much further along in its transformation toward EVs than any other manufacturer.

It’s a claim that’s true in some ways and obviously false in others. But none of those will be Mr. Jost’s problem anymore. He said he’d be redirecting his focus from “smart cars” toward “smart boats,” noting that the latter was a passion he could more easily share with his family. That’s doesn’t sound like much of a business plan. But there’s apparently some sort of collaboration between Jost Group and Silent Yachts Holding to develop “silent resorts” and luxury boats utilizing artificial intelligence for navigation and docking.

[Image: Gyuszko-Photo/Shutterstock]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

Consumer advocate tracking industry trends, regulation, and the bitter-sweet nature of modern automotive tech. Research focused and gut driven.

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 10, 2021

    I'm 57 and almost an empty-nester. It's sad that Mr Jost took 25 years to tire of only seeing his family on weekends. Short-term, maybe, but no long-term job is worth that sacrifice. As for smart boats with autonomous navigation and docking - that would be easier to accomplish than AVs on the streets, but not as easy as autonomous docking in space, for example. Good luck to him.

  • Cicero Cicero on Mar 10, 2021

    So good to know that "Volkswagen is taking responsibility for the climate." I'm looking forward to the more predictable and temperate weather.

    • Matt Posky Matt Posky on Mar 11, 2021

      It's also good to know which doors to knock on the next time it's too hot.

  • 28-Cars-Later "But Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Franciscan Democrat who wrote the electric school bus legislation, says this is all about the health and wellbeing of Golden State residents. In addition to the normal air pollution stemming from exhaust gasses, he believes children are being exposed to additional carcinogens by just being on a diesel bus."Phil is into real estate, he doesn't know jack sh!t about science or medicine and if media were real it would politely remind him his opinions are not qualified... if it were real. Another question if media were real is why is a very experienced real estate advisor and former tax assessor writing legislation on school busses? If you read the rest of his bio after 2014, his expertise seems to be applied but he gets into more and more things he's not qualified to speak to or legislate on - this isn't to say he isn't capable of doing more but just two years ago Communism™ kept reminding me Dr. Fauxi knew more about medicine than I did and I should die or something. So Uncle Phil just gets a pass with his unqualified opinions?Ting began his career as a real estate  financial adviser at  Arthur Andersen and  CBRE. He also previously served as the executive director of the  Asian Law Caucus, as the president of the Bay Area Assessors Association, and on the board of  Equality California. [url=][1][/url][h3][/h3]In 2005, Ting was appointed San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2005 by Mayor  Gavin Newsom, becoming San Francisco’s highest-ranking  Chinese-American official at the time. He was then elected to the post in November 2005, garnering 58 percent of the vote.Ting was re-elected Assessor-Recorder in 2006 and 2010During his first term in the Assembly, Ting authored a law that helped set into motion the transformation of Piers 30-32 into what would become  Chase Center the home of the  Golden State Warriors
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