Volkswagen Scandal: Who is VW's New CEO Matthias Mueller?

Volkswagen (VW) has appointed Matthias Mueller, the chief executive of Porsche, to the company's top role, as it seeks to recover from the worst scandal in its 78-year history.

Mueller, 62, was touted as the obvious choice to replace former CEO Martin Winterkorn, who stepped down on Wednesday. The German has more than 30 years experience at the VW group and joined the top management board in March.

He now has the unenviable task of picking up the pieces after a week of catastrophic revelations for VW. The revelations that some 11 million VW vehicles had been fitted with defeat devices—which allowed them to cheat U.S. energy regulators—led to the resignation of Winterkorn and has left VW facing the threat of massive financial penalties and legal actions.

Mueller, who originally trained as a toolmaker before studying information technology, joined VW-owned luxury brand Audi in 1977, according to the BBC. He took charge of all VW vehicle projects in 2003 and enjoys the support of the influential Porsche-Piech family, which exercises most of the voting rights in VW, The Guardian reported. The silver-haired executive almost got the VW top job before Winterkorn was appointed in 2007. He was appointed as Porsche chief executive in 2010.

George Galliers, a managing director in the global automotive research team at London-based investment banking advisors Evercore ISI, says that Mueller's experience within the VW group make him an ideal candidate for the top job. "We would deem Mueller as a positive appointment and a safe pair of hands. Clearly, when you look at his profile, he's had a very Volkswagen-centric career," says Galliers, who spent 10 years working for Ford.

The emissions testing scandal looks set to plague VW, and the automotive industry as a whole, for a long time to come. The U.K. government announced on Thursday that all new models of diesel cars on sale in Britain could be re-tested, while several other European countries, including France, Italy and Switzerland, have announced probes into the issue. The financial penalties and legal costs facing VW have been compared to BP's Gulf of Mexico disaster, which has cost the oil giant some $54 billion to date.

Questions will undoubtedly be asked about who within VW knew of the scandal. Porsche's engine chief, Wolfgang Hatz and Audi's head of research and development, Ulrich Hackenberg are set to be dismissed as a result of the scandal, according to German tabloid Bild.

However, Galliers believes that Mueller is far-enough removed from the scandal to be seen as a safe appointment. "The engines affected and subject to recall [in VW cars] are small capacity engines which Porsche itself does not use. We don't believe VW would appoint an internal person who could have in any way been aware of this or associated with it," he says.