Volkswagen said on Thursday engineer Ulrich Eichhorn would return to the company to become its research and development chief under a reshuffle of senior managers.
VW announced in early December that the group's former head of R&D, Ulrich Hackenberg, had left the company more than two months after he was suspended during the firm's diesel emissions scandal.
Eichhorn, 54, joined the company from Ford and led research at the group from 2000 to 2003 before he took over responsibility for technical development at the luxury Bentley unit. He left the group in 2012 to take up a senior position at the German automobile industry association.
VW said in a statement that the number of top managers reporting to the CEO would almost be halved. Wolfram Thomas, who has been with the group for 35 years, takes over as production chief.