As CEO, Mueller led Volkswagen through the scandal, which included billions in fines and penalties, to record sales and strong profits.
He assumes control from Matthias Mueller, who was designated in 2015 at the stature of the diesel emanations outrage. The executive and supervisory boards "have resolved to extensively revise the group's management structure", VW said.
"Not only did he safely navigate Volkswagen through that time, together with his team, he also fundamentally realigned the group's strategy". "For that, he is due to the thanks of the entire company".
The truck and buses unit is to be separated as part of a "planned preparation for capital market readiness". It will also split its brands into three new vehicle groups: value, premium and super-premium.
Kilian's appointment, first reported by German magazine Der Spiegel, would give VW's labour representatives a direct say on cost cutting and strategy debates at executive board level.
He was installed after Mueller's attempts to reshape the automotive group foundered amid labour opposition, including his plans to sell motorbike brand Ducati.
"We are convinced that, with Diess, we have the right man on board", works council chief Bernd Osterloh said in a letter to employees on Friday.
Diess described the "most important task" ahead for himself and the German corporate titan as "pushing forward our evolution into a profitable, world-leading provider of sustainable mobility". The company makes mass-market cars under the Volkswagen, SEAT and Skoda brands, luxury cars under the Audi nameplate and highly priced vehicles under the Lamborghini and Bentley brands. Mueller past year earned about 10 million euros in pay and benefits.
The VW cars with 2-liter diesels would meet emissions standards tests in a laboratory or testing station, but in normal operation, they emit nitrogen oxides at up to 40 times the standard, according to the EPA. He helped steer the company out of its diesel emissions scandal and into a new era of investment in electric cars.
As of February, VW had spent more than $7.4 billion in buying back about 350,000 vehicles. Six others have been indicted and have been advised to stay out of the U.S. Meanwhile, Dr. Franciso Javier Garcia Sanz who has been the head of Procurement and the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the SEAT brand will be leaving the company.
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