Volkswagen labour boss who clashed with CEO to take Traton role

Bernd Osterloh

Bernd Osterloh

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HAMBURG (April 23): The head of Volkswagen's powerful works council will take up a management position at the carmaker's truck unit Traton, removing a prominent opponent of faster and more drastic restructuring at the German carmaker.

Traton said on Friday that Bernd Osterloh, who has been a member of the supervisory board at Volkswagen since 2005, will take up the position of personnel director on May 1.

Last year, the 64-year-old Osterloh clashed with Volkswagen chief executive officer (CEO) Herbert Diess, opposing an attempt to extend Diess' contract as he strived to cut costs and free up resources to invest more in electric vehicles.

Reuters first reported on Thursday that Volkswagen was considering a supervisory board change that could lead to Osterloh's departure.

"With Bernd Osterloh on the executive board team, we will tackle the tasks ahead," Traton CEO Matthias Gründler said in a statement.

"His extensive experience in a globally positioned organisation will have a positive impact on cooperation among our brands and partnerships, which operate all over the world."

Osterloh will step down from all his roles at Volkswagen and will be replaced by deputy works council head Daniela Cavallo as soon as possible, Volkswagen's employee representatives said in a separate statement. She will also take over Osterloh's functions on Volkswagen's supervisory board.

Her appointment would require shareholder approval at the company's annual meeting in July.

Osterloh has been a member of Volkswagen's supervisory board since 2005. Labour representatives make up half the board, under Germany's system of corporate governance.