FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen Group's top labor representative, Bernd Osterloh, has backed the company's management shuffle, signaling that new CEO Herbert Diess could face less resistance in his efforts to revamp the automaker than in his previous role.
Diess was appointed on Thursday to succeed ousted group chief Matthias Mueller as part of an overhaul that includes the streamlining of VW's multiple car brands into three groups while preparing its truck business for a potential listing.
"We are convinced that, with Diess, we have the right man on board," works council chief Osterloh said in a letter to employees on Friday.
Osterloh's comments come after repeated clashes over Diess's drive to cut costs and improve profits at the automaker's core VW brand, where Diess was handed the reins only three months before the diesel-emissions scandal erupted.
The labor chief had accused Diess of betraying workers and trying to use the emissions scandal as a pretext for pushing through job cuts.
"Back then, we were not immediately on the same page," Osterloh said in his letter. "But, as is well known, that issue was laid to rest a long time ago."
Osterloh and Diess struck a deal in November 2016 on cost savings and job cuts through natural attrition, and on Friday Osterloh said job security and profitability were now equally important at the company.
The planned group overhaul is VW's biggest revamp since it became a multi-brand conglomerate under former CEO Ferdinand Piech, a grandson of VW Beetle designer Ferdinand Porsche.
Osterloh said that labor representatives also back Volkswagen's decision to prepare its truck and bus division for "capital market readiness" by making it a public limited company.
"The works councils of Scania and MAN support this next step because it continues the work done so far," he said.