When the German newspaper Handelsblatt said Christian Senger would be demoted, we had to talk about that really carefully. Would Volkswagen's head of the software division Car.Software.Org since March 2019 really have to let that position go? Well, he did. Now Handelsblatt says the same will happen to Jürgen Stackmann, the man who said VW messed up with Dieselgate. Big time.
Just like Senger, Stackmann will remain in VW, but not with all the responsibilities he formerly had. Besides being a member of the Board of Management at the Volkswagen Group for Sales, Marketing and After-Sales, he was also the sales director for the Volkswagen brand.
Having to give up that position could seem like a punishment for saying Volkswagen messed up, but that is apparently not the case. Stackmann would be demoted because of the weak sales that Volkswagen is having with the Golf VIII and the Passat. The other board members see this as Stackmann's responsibility: they believe he could have done more to promote these cars, according to Handelsblatt.
Ironically, Stackmann wanted to postpone the presentation of these vehicles. He knew the software issues with the Golf VIII could be a hindrance and warned the company about that, but Volkswagen made its premiere at the scheduled date anyway.
According to the German newspaper, the board members thought postponing the cars would cause image damages. When the software issues emerged, more significant image damages hit the company – apart from the jokes. That makes demoting Stackmann sound even more unfair.
This is yet to be confirmed, but Handelsblatt has a good record when it comes to anticipating these corporate changes at Volkswagen. If that is the case, it will be sad to see that the person who decided to tell things as they are – both internally and to the general public – was punished for that.