FRANKFURT Germany's Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) will likely pick a new chief executive officer (CEO) from within the carmaker's own ranks, CEO Matthias Mueller told German daily Handelsblatt.
"I am already in talks with the supervisory board about who could be my successor," Handelsblatt quoted Mueller as saying.
Mueller's contract is not due to expire until mid 2020, but the process of picking a new leader needs to be initiated with plenty of advance notice, Handelsblatt said.
"It is important and a signal for the company if my successor comes from within our own ranks," Mueller told the paper.
Candidates should have international experience and not become consumed by day to day operations while focusing on big picture strategic initiatives, the paper said, quoting Mueller.
Volkswagen (VW) acknowledged its CEO had given an interview to Handelsblatt.
"We are thinking today about how we can better position Volkswagen in future, and this includes succession planning," a spokesman said on Thursday, declining to discuss potential candidates.
The Handelsblatt interview comes a day after German prosecutors said they were formally investigating executives at VW's biggest shareholder, Porsche SE, over whether they informed markets in a timely manner about the potential risks from VW's emissions scandal.
Mueller is a management board member at Porsche SE, the family-owned holding company which controls 52.2 percent of VW's voting shares.
Mueller said the Porsche SE board had not neglected its duties. "We are convinced that we fulfilled capital market disclosure requirements in an orderly and responsible manner," Handelsblatt quoted him as saying.
"Personally I have nothing to answer for," he added.
(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Writing by Edward Taylor; Editing by Mark Potter)