BERLIN --Volkswagen Group's supervisory board will pick Matthias Mueller, the head of sports-car maker Porsche, as its next chief executive to succeed Martin Winterkorn, reports said.
Mueller, VW Group's former head product strategist, has a majority of votes on the 20-member supervisory panel, which is due to meet on Friday, Reuters reported today, citing a source familiar with the matter.
Mueller will likely beat out Herbert Diess, a former BMW executive who took over the newly created post of VW brand chief this year, Bloomberg reported.
Mueller, 62, has led Porsche since 2010. He is backed by members of the Porsche-Piech family, which controls a majority stake in VW Group.
Mueller also has the support of VW's influential labor leaders, a source told Bloomberg.
In a letter to workers obtained by Bloomberg, Bernd Osterloh, VW’s labor boss, said he would only accept someone for the CEO job who has deep technological and company expertise as well as an understanding of the interests of the employees. Labor representatives hold half the seats on the supervisory board, which oversees strategy and makes top management decisions.
Mueller was already touted as a potential CEO successor when former Chairman Ferdinand Piech failed in a bid to oust Winterkorn in April.
Mueller has run Porsche since October 2010. Over the past four years, the unit’s earnings have surged by almost two-thirds. Mueller is a long-serving Volkswagen employee, joining the Audi division as a toolmaking apprentice in the early 1970s.
The resignation of Winterkorn after VW was found to have cheated U.S. car-emissions tests has opened the door for sweeping changes at VW Group. At least four high-ranking executives will be forced to quit as part of VW's attempt to clear up its diesel emissions scandal, media reports said.
Audi r&d boss Ulrich Hackenberg and Porsche's engine chief, Wolfgang Hatz, will be dismissed at the supervisory board meeting on Friday, the Bild newspaper said, citing unnamed company sources. Hackenberg was previously responsible for VW brand development and Hatz ran VW's engine development.
VW's current U.S. chief executive, Michael Horn, will also be fired, Reuters reported. Winfried Vahland, chief executive of VW's Czech division, Skoda, is the favorite candidate to take charge of VW's U.S. operations, sources told Reuters. VW will create a special position for the U.S. on its management board, the sources said.
VW brand development chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser will also be forced out, German magazine Spiegel reported, citing no sources.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report