Head of Porsche to replace former Volkswagen CEO amid scandal
As the Volkswagen emissions scandal continues to spiral downward, the executive board of the German automaker company is working full-speed to minimize the spread of damage.
Yesterday, Martin Winterkorn stepped down from his position as CEO in “the interests of the company.” Accepting responsibility for the ordeal, he insisted that he personally had committed no misconduct.
Click here to read the September 2015 edition of Business Review USA!
Energy Digital previously reported who the rumored replacements for Winterkorn would be, but reports from The Wall Street Journal and Reuters have confirmed that Matthias Müller will take the role.
VW’s executive board said yesterday it expected “further personnel consequences in the next days,” according to Wired, and that “all participants in these proceedings that has resulted in unmeasurable harm for Volkswagen, will be subject to the full consequences.”
Müller, 62, has been running Porsche for nearly five years.
Volkswagen’s chief executive officer Martin Winterkorn resigned Wednesday after a growing scandal that shed light on 11 million falsified emissions tests from the German carmaker.
“I am shocked by the events of the past few days,” Winterkorn, 68, said in a statement released Wednesday. “Above all, I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group.”
Winterkorn stands to take home an estimated $32 million pension, Bloomberg Business reported, along with the fact that the ousted CEO may also be eligible for two years’ worth of remuneration, if Volswagen determines he was terminated for no fault of his own.
Inside the emissions scandal
A report by the EPA and the California Air Resources Board states that Volkswagen has known for more than a year that American inspectors had discovered something unusual taking place with diesel cars made under the Volkswagen and Audi brands, according to NPR. The first discovery was made in May of 2014 when researchers found wide irregularities when they compared the diesel cars’ performance in emissions tests to real-world driving conditions.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that when the 4-cylinder diesel cars detected they weren’t hooked up to widely used emissions testing equipment, they “emitted up to 40 times more pollutions than allowed under U.S. standards,” wrote NPR.
The violations, which affect nearly half a million vehicles, could result in as much as $18 billion in fines based on the cost per violation and the number of cars. Criminal prosecution is also possible.
The future of Volkswagen
Shares of Wolkswagen have plunged nearly 30 percent since the news of the violations, according to CNN Money, and the stock is now more than 50 percent below the 52-week high the company hit in March.
Do you think Müller’s leadership can turn that around and earn trust for the company once again? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.