Michael Steiner is the new member of the executive board for research and development at Porsche, the automaker announced.

The supervisory board named Steiner (51) to replace Wolfgang Hatz (57) with immediate effect. Hatz has held this position since February 2011 and leaves the sports car maker at his own request.

Steiner has held leading positions in the Porsche Development Center in Weissach for 14 years, most recently as head of complete vehicle engineering/quality management.

Supervisory board chairman Wolfgang Porsche acknowledged Hatz's work which included the 918 Spyder super sports car and the re-entry into motorsport.

Hatz also "played a very significant part" in the Mission E concept car, launched at the 2015 Frankfurt show. Porsche's first all-electric sports car goes into production at the end of the decade.

Hatz went on "temporary leave as a precaution" at the very beginning of the VW group diesel scandal in late September 2015.

Since then, Porsche said, he has been involved in the investigation, though enquiries have shown no evidence of any co-responsibility by Hatz so far.

Nevertheless he decided to leave Porsche due to the ongoing internal investigations and his resulting prolonged leave of absence.

"I look back fondly on my time at Porsche and am very happy that Michael Steiner is taking over as my successor," said Hatz in a statement.

Steiner was Porsche head of Innovation and concepts from 2002 and the first head, from 2005, of the Panamera series. Since 2011 he has headed complete vehicle engineering/quality management. Before joining Porsche, Steiner worked for seven years at Daimler in Stuttgart.

"Steiner has some exciting work ahead of him," Porsche said. "Electrification, digitalisation and connectivity also play a major role for Porsche. The development of the first purely battery-powered sports car from Zuffenhausen marks the beginning of a new era. Steiner's aim is clearly defined: fusing Porsche's traditional genes with the technologies of tomorrow."