The third largest shareholder of Volkswagen plans to come out of the shadows, as it asked the automaker for a seat in the executive committee.
The state of Qatar is the third largest investor shareholder in Volkswagen, having a 17 percent stake of automaker’s stocks through a holding fund, following the 52.2 percent owned by Porsche and Piech families and the 20.0 percent held by the German state of Lower Saxony. Even with such powerful position within the company, Qatar has usually stayed behind the curtain and has not been involved too much in the decision making process.
However, losing several billions of dollars following the diesel emissions scandal has pushed Qatar to make a step forward, discontented by VW’s slow pace in making reforms. Therefore, the state has asked the company for an executive committee seat, a move that has met quite an opposition, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
“There are certain reservations among the executive committee members that admitting two new representatives would weaken the ability of the committee to take decisions,” one of the people said. If Qatar was to be granted a place, Volkswagen would be forced to create another position for a labor representative to keep the power balance in place, thus the opposition. The Qatari move was quite an unusual one, its two representatives in the 20-member supervisory board rarely speaking at the meetings, sources said.