BERLIN (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG production chief Jochem Heizmann will step down in the next few months to take on a new role tightening cooperation between truckmaking units Scania AB and MAN SE, said two people familiar with the matter.
VW hasn't yet decided on a replacement for Heizmann, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.
Heizmann, who has been a member of VW's executive committee since February 2007, will be voted the new deputy board chairman of Scania at a meeting on May 6, according to the agenda for the gathering of the Soedertaelje, Sweden-based unit of Volkswagen.
Heizmann, 58, is a close aide of VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, who chairs Scania's 14-member board. The production chief spent almost five years working at VW's Audi luxury division alongside Winterkorn who was then the unit's CEO. His addition to Scania's board will advance VW's push for a linkup between the two heavy-truck makers, the people said.
“This decision is an obvious step by Volkswagen to forge the trucks alliance they've been mulling for a long time,” said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive at University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany.
Michael Brendel, a VW spokesman, couldn't' immediately be reached for comment. Hans-aake Danielsson, a Scania spokesman, declined to comment.
Piech sees savings
Ferdinand Piech, chairman of Volkswagen and MAN, said on April 1 that Scania and MAN could save as much as 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) by working together, adding he will devote more time to bring about such a combination after Europe's largest carmaker and Porsche SE settled their differences last year on the terms of their own merger.
VW is MAN's biggest investor with a 29.9 percent stake and controls 71 percent of Scania's voting rights. Munich-based MAN, which has a 17.4 percent holding in Scania, remains open to cooperation with the Swedish competitor, MAN Chief Financial Officer Frank Lutz said on March 17.
Heizmann joined the VW Group's executive board a month after Winterkorn, a long-time protégé of Piech, became the group's CEO on Jan. 1, 2007.
Winfried Vahland, head of the carmaker's China operations, is in talks to replace Reinhard Jung as CEO of Czech division Skoda Auto AS, one of the people said. Former Continental AG CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann, hired by VW last November to oversee their electric-car division, is a possible candidate to replace Vahland, the person said.