FILE PHOTO: Volkswagen's CEO Herbert Diess speaks ahead of Volkswagen Group's annual general meeting in Berlin, Germany, May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

Elon Musk also commented on Herbert Diess’ sudden departure from Volkswagen. The Tesla boss did it in the usual weird way (and partly in German) on Twitter: “Schadenfreude or Schatzi Freude?” – “Salary and form”. Asked by a Twitterer what he thought of Diess’ replacement on Friday evening, Musk replied on Sunday: “Software is the key to the future:” Software is the key to the future.

The statements come from the most important competitor of the VW Group and the man who Diess sees as a kind of role model for innovative strength, implementation speed and efficiency. Oddly enough that a German manager should be so openly admiring his nemesis, but something else emerges from Diess in the light of events. The fact that the VW boss is inspired by the egomaniacal, authoritarian-anarchic Musk also sheds light on his own greatest weakness: the deficits as a team player, motivator and leader.

At least that’s what it’s been getting out of the VW Group from different directions for a long time. In this respect, this has also failed in itself. Because the assumption that the huge Volkswagen Group with almost 700,000 employees worldwide can be run like a start-up and that management can be roused to provocation and confrontation is presumptuous. In the end, even the long-patient owner families Porsche and Piech lost their patience.

With the moderate Porsche boss Oliver Blume, who will succeed Diess in September, the management culture is now also set to change. That can work. Blume has a reputation for being an integrator and decisive. And he has the full backing of the families and the major shareholder, Lower Saxony. The Volkswagen system needs to stabilize once more.

The great strategic achievements of Herbert Diess will remain – and Blume will be able to build on what his predecessor left behind: Despite its enormous size and complexity, the second largest car manufacturer in the world changed direction in a relatively short time with Diess at the helm: towards software development , battery cell manufacturers, mobility service providers.

Of course, this also addresses the largest construction sites, worth billions, on which Oliver Blume has to present progress. He will also be in demand as a prominent voice in the political debate about the turnaround in traffic. Herbert Diess was very present in public, argumentative and committed. It would be a pity and a mistake if the new VW boss allowed this discourse to break down.