vwThe head of German luxury sports car maker Porsche, Matthias Mueller, has been picked to succeed Martin Winterkorn as the chief executive of scandal-battered auto giant Volkswagen, the business daily Handelsblatt reported on Thursday.

In an article to be published in its Friday edition, the newspaper said 62-year-old Mueller has been chosen to take the driving seat vacated by Winterkorn on Wednesday as a consequence of the global pollution cheating scandal that has rocked the automobile sector over the past week.

Senior members of the company’s supervisory board had agreed on the choice of Mueller, the report said, quoting two sources close to the board. 

The full 20-member board would meet on Friday morning to approve the appointment, which would then be made public in the early afternoon, it added.

Born in Chemnitz in former East Germany, Mueller originally trained as a tool maker and then graduated in information technology. Appointed CEO at VW’ssports car maker Porsche in 2010, the white-haired and blue-eyed Mueller enjoys the backing of the group’s family shareholders.

He had been tipped to replace Winterkorn during the latter’s bitter feud with his one-time mentor and former supervisory board chief Ferdinand Piech earlier this year.

Germany’s powerful car industry has been reeling over the revelations that Volkswagen fitted up to 11 million of its diesel cars with devices capable of fooling emissions tests.

The scandal, which emerged last Friday when US officials publicly accused the company of cheating and launched a probe, has now gone global with French and South Korean authorities also announcing investigations. – Agence France-Presse

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