The Volkswagen Group will be switching its official language from German to English in an effort to foster internationality, diversity and a change of perspective.
The move is part of Group’s Human Resources department’s plans to realign the development of its management as it aims to develop managers with a broader experience profile. Greater priority will be given to foreign assignments and knowledge gained in different business areas and brands.
"Digitalization, connectivity and e-mobility will fundamentally change our industry. This is why we are realigning our management culture in good time," said Dr. Karlheinz Blessing, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft responsible for Human Resources. "Diversity and international experience will be more important for management than ever before. We will promote a culture of discussion and decision-making, accept that errors are made, support self-correction, strengthen entrepreneurial thinking and action, encourage agility and reinforce overarching cooperation throughout the Group."
"In future, English is to be the Group language," Blessing added. This will improve access to the top management level for international top performers and cooperation among top managers. As a globally positioned Group, we need the best people in the world." In addition, international assignments and experience in different markets and business areas will be taken into consideration in future appointments. In a transitional phase up to the end of 2021, the criteria will be taken as guidelines, after which they will become binding.
Blessing emphasized: "We want managers to cooperate in the overall interests of the Group and leverage the potential available within this great company with comprehensive knowledge and a concerted effort."
The latest move by the Volkswagen Group mirrors recent decisions made by Mitsubishi Motors and Honda, as well as Renault and Nissan, which have all dropped their local languages in favour of English. The BMW Group have also made great strides in fostering diversity, and its CEO Harald Krueger often delivers his speeches in English during events outside of Europe.