Board of Management
The Volkswagen AG Board of Management has sole responsibility for managing the Company in the Company’s best interests, in accordance with the Articles of Association and the rules of procedure for the Board of Management issued by the Supervisory Board.
Accordingly, responsibilities were divided between eight Board of Management positions until December 31, 2020. In addition to the Chairman of the Board of Management, which also includes the Volume brand group, the other Board positions were: Components and Procurement, Finance and IT, Human Resources and Truck & Bus, Integrity and Legal Affairs, Premium, Sport & Luxury as well as China. As of December 31, 2020, the board member for Finance & IT was also responsible for Components and Procurement on a temporary basis, and the Chairman of the Board of Management was also responsible for China.
In December 2020, the Supervisory Board decided to split up the responsibility for Components and Procurement from January 1, 2021, replacing it with two new Board positions: Purchasing and Technology. The new Technology Board position will be responsible for all Group Components activities worldwide, the marketing of the Volkswagen toolkits to third parties, the development and manufacturing of battery cells as well as the associated procurement, the areas of charging and charging systems and the corresponding joint ventures worldwide.
Information on the composition of the Board of Management can be found in the “Members of the Board of Management” section.
Working procedures of the Board of Management
In accordance with Article 6 of the Articles of Association, Volkswagen AG’s Board of Management consists of at least three people, with the precise number determined by the Supervisory Board. As of December 31, 2020, there were six members of the Board of Management.
The Board of Management generally meets weekly. Its rules of procedure require it to meet at least twice a month. Meetings of the Board of Management are convened by the Chairman of the Board of Management. The Chairman is required to convene a meeting if requested by any member of the Board of Management. The Chairman of the Board of Management chairs the Board of Management meetings. In matters of general or fundamental importance, the decisions are taken by the entire Board of Management. The Board of Management takes decisions only after prior debate and/or using the written circulation procedure. Resolutions of the Board of Management are adopted by a majority vote. In the event of a tie, the Chairman of the Board of Management casts the deciding vote.
Each Board of Management member manages his Board position independently, without prejudice to the collective responsibility of the Board of Management. All Board of Management members must keep each other informed of events within their Board position.
The Volkswagen Group companies are managed solely by their respective managements. The management of each individual company takes into account not only the interest of its own company but also the interests of the Group and the individual brands in accordance with the framework laid down by law.
Board of Management committees
Board of Management committees exist at Group level on the following topic areas: investments, digital transformation, management issues, human resources, integrity and compliance, risk management, products and technology. Alongside the responsible members of the Board of Management, the relevant central departments and the relevant functions of the divisions are represented on the committees.
Cooperation with the Supervisory Board
The Supervisory Board advises and monitors the Board of Management with regard to the management of the Company. Through the requirement for the Supervisory Board to provide consent, it is directly involved in decisions of fundamental importance to the Company. In addition, the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG and the Board of Management regularly discuss factors affecting the strategic orientation of the Volkswagen Group. The two bodies jointly assess, at regular intervals, the progress made in implementing the corporate strategy. The Board of Management reports to the Supervisory Board regularly, promptly and comprehensively in both written and oral form on all issues of relevance for the Company particularly with regard to strategy, planning, the development of the business, the risk situation, risk management and compliance.
The Chairman of the Board of Management is responsible for dealings with the Supervisory Board. He is in regular contact with the Chairman of the Supervisory Board and reports to him on all matters of particular significance without delay.
The Supervisory Board has set out the Board of Management’s obligations to provide information and reports in an information policy. The Board of Management must report conscientiously and faithfully to the Supervisory Board or its committees. With the exception of the immediate reports from the Chairman of the Board of Management to the Chairman of the Supervisory Board on matters of particular importance, the Board of Management reports to the Supervisory Board in writing as a rule.
For transactions of fundamental importance, the Supervisory Board must provide its consent. The documents required for decision-making purposes are provided to the Supervisory Board members in good time in advance of the meeting.
Diversity concept and succession planning for the Board of Management
The Supervisory Board has laid down the following diversity concept for the composition of the Board of Management (section 289f(2) no. 6 HGB):
The Supervisory Board must also take diversity into account when considering who would be the best persons to appoint to the Board of Management as a body. The Supervisory Board understands diversity, as an assessment criterion, to mean in particular different yet complementary specialist profiles and professional and general experience, also in the international domain, with both genders being appropriately represented. The Supervisory Board will also take the following aspects into account in this regard, in particular:
- Members of the Board of Management should have many years of management experience.
- Members of the Board of Management should, if possible, have experience based on different training and professional backgrounds.
- The Board of Management as a whole should have technical expertise, especially knowledge of and experience in the manufacture and sale of vehicles and engines of any kind as well as other technical products, and experience in the international domain.
- The Board of Management as a whole should have many years of experience in research and development, production, sales, finance and human resources management, as well as law and compliance.
- Women should comprise a certain proportion of the Board of Management. Based on the statutory provisions, the Supervisory Board regularly sets targets for the proportion of women and deadlines for achieving them.
- The Board of Management should also have a sufficient mix of ages.
The aim of the diversity concept is for the Board of Management members to embody a range of expertise and perspectives. This diversity promotes a good understanding of Volkswagen AG’s organizational and business affairs. Particularly, it enables the members of the Board of Management to be open to new ideas by avoiding groupthink. In this way, it contributes to the successful management of the Company.
In deciding who should be appointed to a specific Board of Management position, the Supervisory Board takes into account the interests of the Company and all the circumstances of the specific case. In taking this decision and in long-term succession planning, the Supervisory Board orients itself on the diversity concept. The Supervisory Board is of the view that the diversity concept is reflected by the current composition of the Board of Management. The members of the Board of Management have many years of professional experience, particularly in an international context, and cover a broad spectrum of educational and professional backgrounds. The Board of Management as a whole has outstanding technical knowledge and many years of collective experience in research and development, production, sales, finance and human resources management, as well as law and compliance. There is also a sufficient mix of ages and a gender balance that meets the requirements set by the Supervisory Board.
The Supervisory Board also took into account the diversity concept that it had laid down upon appointing both of the new members of the Board of Management Murat Aksel and Thomas Schmall-von Westerholt with effect from January 1, 2021. Both of the new members of the Board of Management complement the existing broad spectrum of educational and professional backgrounds and have outstanding knowledge and expertise in the areas that have been assigned to them – Purchasing and Technology.
Long-term succession planning within the meaning of Recommendation B.2 of the 2020 Code is achieved through regular discussions between the Chairman of the Board of Management and the Chairman of the Supervisory Board as well as regular discussions in the Executive Committee. The contract terms for existing Board of Management members are discussed, along with potential extensions and potential successors. In particular, the discussions look at what knowledge, experience and professional and personal competencies should be represented on the Board of Management with regard to the corporate strategy and current challenges, and to what extent the current composition of the Board of Management already reflects this. Long-term succession planning is based on the corporate strategy and corporate culture and takes into account the diversity concept determined by the Supervisory Board.
As a rule, members of the Board of Management should be appointed for a term of office ending no later than their 65th birthday. Board of Management members may be appointed to serve beyond their 65th birthday until no later than their 68th birthday, provided this is agreed by a two-thirds majority of the Supervisory Board.