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Volkswagen’s man takes charge at Porsche

Moving up: VW product strategist Matthias Muller has been given the top job at Porsche.

VW product guru moves into driver’s seat at Porsche to step up the integration pace

7 Jul 2010

VOLKSWAGEN has tightened its grip on Porsche by appointing one of its own, VW Group product strategy expert Matthias Muller, as chief executive of Porsche AG, replacing 20-year Porsche veteran Michael Macht who now becomes head of Volkswagen Group production.

Mr Muller, 57, worked closely with VW CEO Martin Winterkorn at Audi before joining him at Volkswagen to oversee the group’s new-model rollout three years ago.

From October 1, Mr Muller will become CEO of Porsche AG – the Stuttgart-based sportscar arm of Porsche Automobil Holding SE.

Mr Macht, 49, replaced Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking after the collapse of Porsche’s bid to take over VW last year.

He now will head to Wolfsburg to oversee VW Group production – an area in which he has considerable experience, having filled this role for Porsche for a decade until his call to the top job to steady the ship in the middle of the global financial crisis storm that doomed Mr Wiedeking’s grand plan and allowed VW to turn the tables.

Mr Macht will replace VW’s current production chief, Jochem Heizmann, who will head up a new VW truck group that now includes Scania AB and MAN SE.

 center imageLeft: Micahel Macht. Below: Martin Winterkorn.

European observers suggest that Mr Muller’s appointment to Porsche signals a push by VW to hasten Porsche’s integration into VW to facilitate its model expansion, particularly into smaller, more fuel-efficient cars that can share technology with other VW Group models, particularly those of Audi.

Mr Muller is well versed in current and future models across the group, and is expected to bring that expertise to bear at Porsche as it sets out to double sales to 150,000 units.

Porsche AG supervisory board chairman Wolfgang Porsche said Mr Muller would guarantee that Porsche would not only maintain but expand its top position.

He praised outgoing CEO Mr Macht, saying he had taken over the leadership of Porsche AG in a crucial period.

“Through his skill and many years of experience within the Porsche Group, he has succeeded in re-stabilising the company within a short time, placing our operations on a strong and solid foundation,” he said.

VW’s Mr Winterkorn said: "Michael Macht is an acknowledged production expert. As chairman of the board of management of Porsche AG, he has made a key contribution to the envisaged union of Porsche and Volkswagen over the past year.

“Under his management, Porsche has been successfully established as an independent brand in the Volkswagen Group’s multi-brand network."As part of the new deal, Mr Macht gets a seat on the VW Group AG board from where he will oversee all of the group’s plants worldwide as it aims to overtake Toyota to become the world’s number one motor vehicle manufacturer by 2018.

VW owns 49.9 per cent of Porsche AG, and plans to complete a full merger by 2011.

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