You likely already know all about Herbert Diess being switched out of VW Group for... reasons. Here are four that we scooped up and what went down, in case you've missed it.
The date for Diess to leave the CEO position was yesterday, so here we are with a few new viewpoints before we'll be all "Blume this" and "Blume that".
After the announcement, we didn't see Diess explain much, some of it just following business as usual. Like his visit to Canada last week. (link) Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz signed letters of intent with the Canadian government to secure access to key battery raw materials, like lithium, nickel, and cobalt.
But after today, it's likely we won't hear more of Diess<>VW ever again, regardless of him being still on contract on a modest €2.2M/year salary until 2025.
So, first off, here's Herbert Diess' farewell speech from yesterday: (video, 4min).
These were the most rewarding 7 years of my career. The future of our industry can be brilliant but we have to change fast. We have changed tremendously & are well underway. Thank you for all your trust & feedback.
For a lot more insights into his tenure, I enjoyed the interview with Diess, with picture-questions by Dirk Borth, VW Group's Head of Internal Communications, (42:32):
They discuss Elon Musk (how important it is to take competitors seriously and understand what they do differently), SalzGiga, football, Greenpeace, and more.
Now today, as Blume takes over as the Chairman of the Volkswagen Group Board of Management, the company has published a written interview on the website: (link). I'll highlight a few questions/answers that I found to be less 'fluffy':
Is it possible to run the Group and Porsche at the same time?
Absolutely. The strategic leadership of the Group differs significantly from the operational management of a brand. [...] My calendar will not change significantly. Just in a different role now.
What effect would a potential IPO at Porsche AG have on your dual role?
My dual role would have significant advantages. [...] Porsche AG would be an independent company with no authority on the part of Volkswagen AG, [...] If conflicts of interest nevertheless arise, we will strictly separate matters and I would take a neutral position. The Porsche executive board will always be able to make independent decisions.
Will you stick with the strategy of electromobility?
Absolutely. E-mobility is the future. We will keep up the current pace and where possible, actually increase it. I am a fan of e-mobility. I stand by this path through my work at Porsche as well.
CARIAD: To what extent are major changes to be expected there?
Setting up CARIAD as the central competence centre for software is absolutely the right approach. Now we have to keep evolving. [...] What core competencies do we want to have at CARIAD, where are the right points of contact to the brands and with what partners do we want to collaborate?
With e-fuels, Porsche embarked on its own path. Volkswagen is completely focused on e-mobility. Is there a contradiction there?
Not at all. [...] At Porsche, too, we are completely committed to e-mobility and see e-fuels as complementary. They make sense when they are produced in places in the world where there is unlimited sustainable energy. Beyond the existing vehicle fleet, these fuels are primarily important for the shipping and aviation sectors.
Jaan: expect VW to drop the idea of writing most of the software itself via CARIAD. We'll soon see how it will be tried to outsource to partners at a lot bigger capacity. Will Apple's custom OS will play a role here, next to the already-set partners Bosch and Continental?
One is for sure. Volkswagen, like most 'legacy auto', has reached the stage where they realize they're being hit with a double-whammy: electric vehicles AND theneed of software focus.
Porsche is expected to announce the listing after the supervisory board signs off on it, in the first week of September (link). So... right about now?
The company has reportedly secured pre-orders that exceed the shares on offer at a €60B to €85B valuation. This would be one of the biggest-ever listings in Europe.
Also, here's something for scale: Volkswagen Group's market cap is currently $83.53B.
I'll end this with my very, very important question that might determine the future of VW Group as a whole:
Do you think we'll ever see Oliver Blume do a Reddit AMA?
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Caution! High Voltage!
Caution! High Voltage!