VW’s Traton Abruptly Replaces CEO, CFO in Management Turmoil
(Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG’s Traton SE division replaced its chief executive officer after just over a year on the job with the head of its Scania brand, in a surprise shakeup raising questions about the truck manufacturer’s next strategic steps.
Traton Chief Executive Matthias Gruendler and Chief Financial Officer Christian Schulz will leave the company, Traton said late Wednesday. Scania brand chief Christian Levin will take over as CEO and corporate finance head Annette Danielski becomes CFO, effective tomorrow.
“I see Christian Levin as a strong leader to execute on the next chapter for the group,” Hans Dieter Poetsch, the supervisory board chairman of both Traton and parent VW, said in a statement. “He has my full support to lead the journey toward stronger profitability and growth.”
The elevation of Levin is the second shakeup in a short space of time for Traton. Andreas Renschler, the manufacturer’s previous CEO who oversaw an underwhelming initial public offering after much internal wrangling, quit in in 2020 alongside two other board members. Renschler has been credited with improving long-standing struggles for closer collaboration between the former competitors Scania and MAN.
The management changes “amplify several concerns,” Jefferies analyst Himanshu Agarwal said in a note to clients, raising questions around management retention following Gruendler’s short stint as CEO and potential headwinds for the integration of Navistar International Corp.
Traton’s management has also lobbied for a capital raise to increase the free float and become more independent, loosening VW’s tight grip through its stake of about 90%. The parent company earlier this year ruffled some feathers by installing former VW works council head Bernd Osterloh as Traton personnel chief.
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