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VW CEO calls top management meeting to lay out overhaul plan

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FRANKFURT — Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess will address top managers in an internal video conference to map out his plans to overhaul the automaker, according to people familiar with matter.

The meeting on Tuesday evening is designed to rally VW’s employees and win backing for his strategy, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private.

A VW spokesman declined to comment.

VW Group’s supervisory board was meeting on Monday evening to discuss tensions between Diess and the German automaker’s labor leaders, Reuters reported. The meeting was brought forward from Thursday.

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Diess has demanded a contract extension and more support for his reform efforts from VW’s stakeholders, but he has met resistance from powerful worker representatives, who hold half of the seat’s on the supervisory board.

VW Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch held talks with main stakeholders over the weekend to find a compromise, Reuters reported.

VW’s labor representatives reaffirmed their backing of Diess over the weekend, but said an early extension of his contract that runs until 2023 is not up for discussion.

Audi works council head Peter Mosch, a top labor official on VW’s supervisory board, told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper in an interview he believes Diess is ready for compromise.

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A previous management conference in June almost cost Diess his job after he accused some supervisory board members of criminal offenses by leaking information to media. He was stripped of direct control of the main VW brand as a result.

VW’s supervisory board last month approved a five-year investment plan that allocates a larger chunk of the total spending worth 150 billion euros ($182 billion) on future technology including electric and self-driving cars.

The management conference and supervisory board meetings are important for VW’s efforts to defuse tension over Diess’s push for faster and more thorough reform at VW.

Reuters contributed to this report

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