Michael Horn has stepped down from his role as president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. His departure is effective immediately, the company said in a statement today.
On an interim basis, Hinrich Woebcken will assume Horn's old position. Woebcken recently became the new chief of the company's North American Region to replace Winfried Vahland who stepped down from the post after just a few weeks. In the past, Woebcken held a number of management positions at BMW, including the division manager for Driving Dynamics.
It's unclear exactly why Horn is leaving. Volkswagen's statement said his departure was "through mutual agreement with Volkswagen AG." However, it seems like he is still on good terms with leaders in the company.
"I want personally to say 'thank you' to Michael Horn for the great work he has done for the brand and with the dealers in the United States," said Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen brand, in a statement. "During his time in the U.S., Michael Horn built up a strong relationship with our national dealer body and showed exemplary leadership during difficult times for the brand."
Those "difficult times," no doubt, refer to the company's diesel scandal. Since Volkswagen admitted to installing cheat devices on diesel cars to evade emissions controls, it has undergone some major leadership changes. Last year, Volkswagen top dog Martin Winterkorn resigned and was replaced by Porsche boss Matthias Mueller. And just yesterday, we heard reports that up to 17 Volkswagen employees are under investigation in relation to the diesel scandal.
Horn joined Volkswagen back in 1990 and has held many leadership positions with the company. These include global head of after sales for Volkswagen AG, head of Volkswagen sales in North West Europe, head of sales and marketing for luxury class vehicles, and head of sales for Europe. He assumed the role of president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America back in January 2014.