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Exclusive-Volkswagen mulls board change that could see labour chief move on - sources

Stock MarketsApr 22, 2021 10:00AM ET
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© Reuters. A Volkswagen logo is seen as it launches its ID.6 and ID.6 CROZZ SUV at a world premiere ahead of the Shanghai Auto Show, in Shanghai

By Jan Schwartz and Christoph Steitz

HAMBURG (Reuters) -Volkswagen is considering a change to its supervisory board that could lead to the replacement of Bernd Osterloh, the head of its powerful works council who clashed with CEO Herbert Diess last year, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Osterloh's departure, if confirmed, could weaken resistance to faster and more drastic restructuring at the German carmaker.

Last year, the 64-year-old opposed an attempt by Diess to extend his contract as the CEO strives to cut costs and free up resources to invest more in electric vehicles.

One source said Osterloh had been offered the position of personnel director at Traton, Volkswagen (DE:VOWG_p)'s truck unit that was spun off and separately listed in 2019.

A second source said the group was considering proposing a new labour representative to its board, but did not give a name.

The company, its main shareholder Porsche SE and the works council declined to comment.

Five sources in total said Volkswagen would in the near future debate an important change in the composition of its supervisory board, adding no final decisions had been taken.

The move follows a surge in Volkswagen's shares, as investors warm to its efforts to overtake Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and become a world leader in electric cars.

The shares have risen by more than half in value so far this year, giving the company a market value of 132 billion euros ($159 billion).

Osterloh has been a member of Volkswagen's supervisory board since 2005. Labour representatives make up half the board, under Germany's system of corporate governance.

Should Osterloh leave the supervisory board, as would be required should he take up an executive role at Traton, the most likely candidate to replace him would be deputy works council head Daniela Cavallo, the sources said.

Any nomination would be subject to a confirmatory vote by shareholders at the annual meeting in July.

($1 = 0.8291 euros)

Exclusive-Volkswagen mulls board change that could see labour chief move on - sources
 

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