Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess
“Motion is my main passion”
Just a few weeks ago he has reached the top. Since April TUM Alumni Herbert Diess is the new Chief Executive Officer of the Volkswagen Group. A big task, which the 59-year-old engineer takes on with a lot of vigour and passion.
When VW CEO Herbert Diess gets off his car at TUM Campus Garching he immediately feels taken back to his time as a student of mechanical engineering: ”This is exactly how we used to sit there and studied”, he remembers when seeing the students with their books in front of the Institute for Machine Tools and Industrial Management. Just a few weeks ago the engineer has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of the Volkswagen Group. Prior to that the 59-year-old had been head of the master brand for two years.
A lifelong passion
As long as he can remember Herbert Diess has been fascinated by cars. It all started in kindergarden with a small box of Matchbox cars. His grandparents had a farm where he got to practice driving tractors and motorcycles. “Motion has always been my main passion. Accordingly my career has fulfilled many of my dreams” the Mechanical Engineer summarizes. From the University of Applied Sciences he came to TUM in 1978, to study Mechanical Engineering at the renowned iwb and to do his doctorate. Today, he still has many fond memories of that time: “There were professors who taught us a lot, also emotionally. We had possibilities to work with companies from the industry. An amazing chance to also get a feeling for what the working world is like. I have formed friendships, of which some are still holding strong today.”
I have formed friendships, of which some are still holding strong today.
His doctorate was followed by an impressive career in the industry: Herbert Diess initially joined Bosch in Stuttgart and from 1996 onwards worked for BMW in various management positions in Germany and abroad, and then from 2007 until 2014 as a member of the Executive Board. Juli 2015 brought the change: since then Herbert Diess was heading the Volkswagen brand. “It intrigued me a lot to take responsibility at Volkswagen. I really wanted to bring new momentum and prepare Volkswagen for the great changes of our industry” Herbert Diess says. For him the car is one of the means of transport of the future: “The electric drive is right around the corner and will lead to much more sustainable driving. Automated driving will make sure that we are safer when moving around. The position of cars will be stronger in the future, not weaker”, is his assessment.
A passion or the product
In the recent weeks the responsibility on Herbert Diess’ shoulders has increased even further: in April he has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of the Volkswagen group. For him this position is mainly about the company’s further development and about picking up the pace even more. Here, a passion for the product is an important element of his success: “You have to love what you do. To me my profession is a godsend because I am a passionate motorist, motorcyclist and car maker.”
Apparently Herbert Diess has passed this passion on to his kids: all three of them are studying Engineering, his youngest daughter even at TUM. “My children have seen their father enjoy his work, being able to achieve a lot and travel the world. Maybe that has encouraged them to take a similar path”, Herbert Diess concludes.
Dr. Herbert Diess
Diploma Mechanical Engineering 1983, Doctorate 1987
Herbert Diess studied Automotive Engineering at the University of Applied Science in Munich before changing to TUM in 1978 and earning his diploma in Mechanical Engineering in 1983. After finishing his degree he worked for almost one year in the industry before returning to the Institute for Machine Tools and Industrial Management (iwb) of TUM as a research assistant and doctorate student. Having finished his doctorate in 1987 he worked for Bosch in Stuttgart and for Treto in Spain before joining BMW AG in 1996. Here he held various management positions in Germany and abroad and also became a Board of Management member in 2007, where he intensely promoted the development of the electric car, amongst other things. In June 2015 he joined Volkswagen to head the Volkswagen brand. Mid April 2018 Herbert Diess was appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of VW. To compensate for his strenuous work life he enjoys being in the mountains to ski of hike or being on the water to sail and kitesurf. He is married and has three adult children.