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"Diess will hold both positions, CEO of the company and the VW brand", one of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Diess has a reputation for clashing with unions over cost-cutting measures, according to the BBC. Now, he's poised to take VW's top job. The scandal has cost the company over $30 billion.

Continuing, Reuters reports: "But the persistent tug of war between its controlling families, unions and other stakeholders have made it hard to drive through structural changes that investors have said are key to the company fulfilling its potential". As the executive overseeing VW's biggest unit, he has routinely butted heads with labour leaders while seeking to cut costs and simplify the carmaker's byzantine structure.

Mr Mueller, who formerly headed Porsche, took over as chief executive unexpectedly in September 2015 when Martin Winterkorn resigned over the company's scandal over cars rigged to cheat on emissions tests. The surprise leadership switch is due to be finalized at a supervisory board meeting on Friday, the people said.

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The carmaker also said it will reorganise its 12 brands by creating six new vehicle divisions and a special arm devoted to China, its largest market. The potential reshuffle has echoes of previous attempts to lend shape to the VW behemoth.

"The Volkswagen Group's goal is and remains to align the Company and its brands with future needs, to safeguard its position among the leaders of the global automotive industry with innovativeness and profitability, and to be instrumental in shaping tomorrow's personal mobility with the strength of our Group brands", said Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Hans Dieter Pötsch. "Diess has proven to be someone who can get things done, so he's the right person to try and execute these changes".

Volkswagen on Tuesday said Mr Mueller had expressed his general willingness to participate in a management overhaul, and it was still to be determined whether efforts to develop a new leadership structure would leave him in place. VW has paid more than $30 billion in fines for the scandal, but the company maintained plans to expand sales in the US despite suffering sales declines.

While the timing of the handover seems somewhat counterintuitive - VW is financially on the mend and has defended its status as the industry No. 1 - Mueller had at times shown signs of fatigue.


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