It looks like at least one catastrophe may have been averted at VW, and that the blonde blight Ariane Reinhart will not be made head of the company’s stressed-out HR. Swaths of Volkswagen personnel threatened a walkout, should the despised dame return, and the Hallway Radio is now comfortably certain that she won’t. Instead, Karlheinz Blessing is expected to be announced as new HR director once Volkswagen’s Supervisory Board meets this coming Wednesday. Dailykanban readers know that at Volkswagen, the HR chief must be beatified by the unions, and Blessing definitely comes with that blessing. Blessing is said to be a long-term member both of Germany’s Social Democratic Party, and the IG Metall metalworkers union.
Blessing comes from where the unions love to recruit their VW HR chief, from plate steel maker Dillinger Hütte. Blessing’s career is intimately connected to a far more entertaining chapter of Volkswagen’s history of scandals.
Blessing became HR director of the steel maker when the unions installed his predecessor Peter Harz as HR chief at Volkswagen. There, Harz became famous for distracting union chiefs with Brazilian girlfriends for hire, excursions through the world’s better red light districts, and plain cash. Nobody at the unions complained, they liked it that way. Ferdinand Piech, CEO of Volkswagen at the time, supposedly did not know of the shenanigans. His Teflon was better than that of Winterkorn, Piech could stay, and take over VW years later.
Prior to signing on at Dillinger Hütte, Blessing was office manager of IG Metall chief Franz Steinkühler, later he was executive director of Germany’s Social Democratic Party. Volkswagen’s workforce, happy that no Reinhart was visited on them, should be very pleased with its new HR chief.