(autoinsidernews) - Volkswagen Group's new CEO, Martin Winterkorn, consolidated his power Thursday. The automaker announced Wolfgang Bernhard, the current chairman of the VW brand, will leave the company at the end of January, and that Winterkorn will take control of the VW brand, in addition to his current CEO duties, reports Trend.
Winterkorn, who formerly headed the automaker's Audi unit, was promoted after a boardroom coup forced former VW CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder to step down at the end of last year. Pischetsrieder brought Bernhard to Volkswagen in February 2005 from DaimlerChrysler AG, and installed him as the head of the VW brand since May 2005. Bernhard, a close ally of Pischetsrieder, had been widely expected to resign if his position changed.
It was clear that as soon as Pischetsrieder had left that Dr. Bernhard's position was less secure, since it was Pischetsrieder who had hired him, said Stephen B. Cheetham, a European auto analyst.
Volkswagen did not specify a reason for Bernhard's departure but thanked him for his service. The company would like to thank Dr. Bernhard for his work in the past years and wishes him all the best for his future career, it said, adding that, Bernhard had furthered the process of restructuring of the company and hence increased the productivity of the Volkswagen brand.