VW Replaces Head of Ride-Hailing Unit

(Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG said it is shuffling the leadership at its Moia unit to map out next steps in the development of its ride-sharing operations.

Ole Harms, who has led Moia since its founding in 2016, will take on “a new, responsible task” within the world’s biggest automaker, the German manufacturer said Friday in a statement. His successor will be the unit’s current chief operating officer, Robert Henrich.

Bloomberg News reported earlier that the management revamp was caused by diverging views over Moia’s growth strategy.

VW was late to develop services like car sharing or ride hailing, and remains far behind tech players such as Uber Technologies Inc. It’s also come under more pressure from German rivals Daimler AG and BMW AG, which recently joined forces in mobility services.

Moia’s operations currently comprise ride-sharing services in the German cities of Hannover and Hamburg. It also offers fleet solutions for companies and plans to participate in a ride-pooling test in London later this year in cooperation with public transport operator RATPDev.

VW boosted its mobility service efforts in the wake of the diesel-emissions crisis, which erupted four years ago. So far, the results have been mixed, as patchy transport regulation in key markets complicate efforts for companies. Self-driving vehicles, which Harms has said are necessary for ride-sharing to become profitable, are taking longer to develop than initially expected.

Harms had been focused on growth, with a goal of cracking the top three in mobility by 2025, while also making money. To do that, he sought to create partnerships and use Moia as a kind of bridge between VW’s manufacturing capability and outside service providers.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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