VW’s Vahland Turns Down N.A. Chief Position Due to Personal Reasons

winfreid vahland, chairman of the board and CEO of SkodaToday’s big news from the Volkswagen Group is their designated chief of North America leaving the 2nd largest carmaker due to differences of opinion over U.S. strategy, according to a statement from VW’s Skoda unit.

Winfried Vahland was chosen to lead a newly created North American region starting in November with Michael Horn, VW Group of America CEO and president, reporting to him. Volkswagen Group appointed Vahland to join the executive management team of its core VW brand on Nov. 1 as head of its operations in the United States, Mexico and Canada as part of a broader reshuffle that led to Porsche boss Matthias Mueller taking the helm of the group after former CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned. Now those plans are a bust.

“He reached this decision due to varying opinions on the design of the group’s new North America region; it has no connection with the current events regarding diesel engines,” said in Skoda’s announcement.

Automotive News reported Vahland left the VW Group for other compelling reasons. One, he was close to Martin Winterkorn and had worked out the deal to lead the new North American region before Winterkorn’s resignation. With Winterkorn out of the picture, the decision to continue on became more difficult.

Winfreid Vahland Skoda CEOTwo, Vahland’s wife said she would not follow him to VW’s North American headquarters in Herndon, Virginia. Mrs. Vahland faithfully supported her husband for 25 years moving from country to country – Brazil, Czech Republic, China, etc. – wherever his VW career took him and his family. Moving and relocating to the U.S. was something she was not open to after having been uprooted several times over the past two and half decades.

Vahland, has been CEO of VW’s Skoda division since 2012 and was due to take over the North American operations after the executive management team was reorganized in the wake of the “dieselgate” scandal. Vahland is recognized for his leadership reviving Skoda’s business in China. Prior to joining the VW Group, he was with Audi in the 90s and General Motors in the 80s.

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