Andreas Renschler who resigned suddenly from Daimler last month, will return to Volkswagen, where he previously worked briefly, to head commercial vehicles from 1 February, 2015.

VE said Renschler, 55, would take over from Leif Östling "who will continue to make a significant contribution to the work of the commercial vehicles supervisory bodies in the [group].

"We are very pleased we have been able to recruit Renschler to join our company thanks to the initiative and efforts of Östling," chairman Ferdinand Piech said.

Renschler joined Daimler-Benz in 1988 and began setting up the factory in Tuscaloosa, USA, in 1993.

He moved to corporate headquarters in 1999 where he was responsible for executive management development at the former DaimlerChrysler. He was appointed president of Smart from 1999. Renschler joined the Daimler management board in 2004, running trucks and buses until March 2013 and subsequently taking charge of manufacturing and procurement for cars and vans from April 2013.

Renschler had been seen as a strong candidate to take over from Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche and his exit last month came as a surprise given that he was on a short list of internal candidates considered contenders to succeed Zetsche.

Renschler reportedly said he decided to leave Daimler for "a lot of reasons," including the contenders for Zetsche's job "are all more or less the same age. If Dieter wants to work for six years, I would not be happy to do my job".

He added he was leaving the company for "a different perspective."