Volkswagen dropped a bomb Announcement last weekend: Herbert Dias was out as CEO.
As a manager, Dias was controversial, with a style that baffled both executives and labor leaders alike. But as a strategist, he was on strong ground, pulling Volkswagen out of the Dieselgate scandal and driving it toward full electrification.
With Dice leaving at the end of August, Porsche CEO Oliver Bloom will be stepping into Volkswagen’s corner office. There’s plenty of reason to think that Bloom will continue the company’s EV push. Ultimately, he oversaw the development and rollout of the sports car maker’s first electric model, the Taycan, which is already outselling the flagship 911.
But Bloom is also a supporter of e-fuels, which are fossil-fuel replacements made from hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Last year, he reportedly went personally to lobby for him with the German finance minister, who later pushed back against the EU’s plans to phase out fossil fuel vehicles altogether. (The whole business, known in the German press as Porschegate, has rocked national politics.)
Under Diess, Volkswagen’s path towards an electric future appeared to be paved. Now, under Bloom, it seems less certain. His push for e-fuels could bring some much-needed stability to the company. But it also runs the risk of becoming a strategically dangerous distraction at a time of great turmoil in the automotive industry.