This weekend proved shocking for the second largest automaker in the world and also Europe-s biggest – VW AG chairman Ferdinand Piech unexpectedly resigned.
Piech had started earlier this month a leadership crisis after claiming he had decided to distance himself from the company’s chief executive officer Martin Winterkorn. The subsequent showdown didn’t go as planned though, with Piech losing his supporters in the supervisory board, including members of his family, which rule over the Porsche SE holding. His showdown had an abrupt ending on Saturday when he resigned, with a panel of senior supervisory board members at the automaker claiming the chairman had lost their trust over the period – making it the primary cause of his unexpected departure. “The members of the steering committee came to a consensus that in light of the past weeks the mutual trust necessary for successful cooperation was no longer there,” said a common statement of the members.
Additionally, the premier of the German state of Lower Saxony (a major stakeholder, with 20 percent ownership), commented on the fallout claiming that Piech’s resignation was crucial to bring some degree of stability and clarity among the company’s top leadership ranks. “I regret the resignation of Ferdinand Piech, but it was unavoidable in the end,” commented Stephan Weil in a statement. The departing chairman will be substituted for the moment by Deputy Chairman Berthold Huber – who also supported the opinion, viewing the move as necessary to stop employee uncertainty.