Auto industry’s leaders face new challenges image

The automotive sector has its own titans – figures that are instantly recognizable around the globe, such as VW’ Ferdinand Piech or Renault’s Carlos Ghosn. But in recent weeks their „god-like” status has been challenged.

Let’s treat for an instant the companies they once ruled undefeated as empires from long lost ages – they could be seen as their emperors. While the two ruled for years undisputed, April brought crucial headaches for both – Piech lost his job as chairman of VW AG and Ghosn lost a clash with the French state. But neither is seen accepting the defeat. Ferdinand Piech, which controlled the destinies of the largest European carmaker for two decades, had to resign from his chairman duties after losing a power struggle over the fate of chief executive officer Martin Winterkorn. Renault Nissan alliance leader Carlos Ghosn on the other hand lost a vote that would have allowed Renault to keep its voting structure intact – instead the French state’s influence in the automaker will now grow.

Piech, the patriarch of the ruling family that has 51 percent of VW Ag shares, still has a major influence at home and reports have been pouring in about his opposition against the nomination of family members on the supervisory board and as his replacement. Meanwhile, the French government has increased its stake in Renault to almost 20 percent to ensure the double voting rights measure will pass against Ghosn’s wishes, with many analysts viewing the measure to go against the leader’s desire to deeply integrate the two automakers into one, larger entity.

Via Automotive News Europe