Volkswagen is expected to finalize major changes to its leadership and possibly its structure after a supervisory board meeting later Thursday. Excessive spending and poor budget discipline were eroding profit margins even before the carmaker's diesel-emissions scandal erupted in September 2015.
But the tug of war between its controlling families, unions and other stakeholders has made it hard to drive through structural changes that investors have said are key to the company fulfilling its potential.
Volkswagen has confirmed that Herbert Diess will take over from current boss Matthias Mueller.
German business newspaper Handelsblatt and national news agency DPA reported Herbert Diess, head of the VW brand - one of the group's 12 makes of cars, trucks and motorbikes - was slated to take Mueller's place.
Volkswagen, which employes over 640,000 people, turned aggressively to electric cars under Mueller's leadership.
Such an overhaul would be part of a wider auto industry trend towards spin-offs as companies aim to become more nimble and efficient to cope with rapid changes such as the rise of electric vehicles and autonomous driving.
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Since the scandal broke in September, 2015, numerous company's top executives have been tossed overboard.
Mr Mueller, a former chief executive of VW subsidiary Porsche, was brought in to replace Martin Winterkorn.
Early in Diess's tenure as head of the VW vehicle brand, labour leader Bernd Osterloh publicly questioned his credibility in contract talks, raising concerns that he might fall victim to the carmaker's complex internal politics, which has toppled many high-profile newcomers.
VW's statement didn't specify whether the planned changes meant replacing Mr Mueller or simply a shift in responsibilities. Karlheinz Blessing, head of human resources, has been replaced by Gunnar Kilian, secretary-general of VW's works council, which represents employees. Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, Volkswagen's long-time head of purchasing, will leave the company. Audi, the VW brand, the trucks division, and the group's Chinese operations also have representatives on Volkswagen's top executive body.
Diess's appointment comes two days after a company statement that was as surprising as it was cryptic, saying that Mueller had agreed "in principle" to contribute to a management change, without elaborating or mentioning his chosen successor by name.