Wolfgang Bernhard can't fix Volkswagen by himself.
That is why the VW brand chairman is quickly moving his own people into key positions at the automaker.
"He is leaving little doubt that this is his team," said one VW insider. "And he's not wasting any time."
Bernhard has spent the last 16 months assembling his group of advisors.
His Wolfsburg team will specialize in areas on which Bernhard is placing increased emphasis: VW's small and large vehicles, engine development, product strategy and marketing.
The core members of his team are:
- Michael Kern, 50, board member for VW brand sales and marketing
- Rudolf Krebs, 49, technical development director for VW group engines
- Matthias Rabe, 43, product strategy director for the VW brand
- Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler, 48, technical development director for VW brand small vehicles (code-name E1)
- Eckhard Scholz, 42, technical development director for all VW brand large vehicles (code-name E2).
Bernhard's restructuring plans are ambitious.
VW will cut jobs, at the same time it introduces 20 new models in five years -- 10 in segments which it does not now occupy. In January, VW announced it will slash at least 20,000 positions in western Europe over the next two years.
"The fascinating thing about Bernhard is that he is not afraid to make a radical and accurate diagnosis and put it out there," said Albrecht Denninghoff, automotive analyst at HypoVereinsbank in Munich. "That is encouraging."
Bernhard's core group of decision-makers will have to handle VW's problems. Most are new in their positions.