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Future of VW CEO still uncertain, with “razor sharp” talks

REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

HAMBURG, Nov. 24 (Reuters) – Volkswagen’s board of directors (VOWG_p.DE) did not make a decision on the future of chief executive Herbert Diess at a meeting on Tuesday, two sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday , one describing the discussions as “on the edge of a knife”.

Diess and the German automaker’s powerful union representatives have clashed in recent weeks over its management style and electrification strategy, after warning that jobs could be lost if the process is not handled well.

“This topic is so hot it is on a razor’s edge. I can’t say anything more,” said a source, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the subject.

“As expected, there is nothing new,” said a second source.

Sources told Reuters on Tuesday that the supervisory board’s eight-person executive committee would likely need more time to find a compromise that would satisfy all parties. Read more

Continuing uncertainty about the leadership and strategy of Europe’s largest automaker has left its stock performance lagging behind its competitors for the past six months.

Its shares are down 18% since May, compared to an 11% increase at BMW (BMWG.DE) and Stellantis (STLA.MI), a 55% increase at Ford (FN.N) and a jump of 83% at Tesla (TSLA.O), whose success at Diess has often been referred to as a sign of the need for Volkswagen to transform faster towards electrification.

A deal on the committee – which includes works council chairwoman Daniela Cavallo and representatives of the controlling Porsche and Piech families – could hinge on whether or not Diess accepts a change in management style, the sources said.

Sources familiar with the negotiations said a resolution would likely come as part of a package that included announcing new board members, details on job prospects for employees and investment plans for the group, Reuters reported on Monday.

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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