Volkswagen’s long standing chairman Ferdinand Piech lost the power battle a few months ago and had to vacate his position but his influence within the ruling Porsche-Piech clan was now enough.
That’s because Piech was able to prevent chief executive Martin Winterkorn from nailing the chairman chair – a long standing ambition of his – showing the patriarch still can influence the scene, according to German media reports. Two reputed German publications, weekly magazine Spiegel and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung claim the Porsche-Piech family – which directs the Porsche SE holding, owner of 51 percent of VW AG – was in favor of naming Winterkorn as chairman but Piech stepped in.
Volkswagen said last week its Chief Financial Officer Hans Dieter Poetsch would be the board’s proposal to the chairman position, with Winterkorn’s contract as CEO extended for another two years through 2018. The German company responded to the media reports in the publications by saying its executive committee had decided on Winterkorn’s CEO contract extension as far back as April and called the rest of the unsourced media rumors “speculation”.
Piech, the 78-year-old grandson of the man that established Volkswagen as a mainstream brand by inventing the Beetle, lost the support and had to quit as chairman back in April when he tried to have Winterkorn removed from his CEo position by discrediting him. Piech’s continued rule for decades led VW AG into becoming an empire that builds anything from one-liter cars to heavy trucks and his losing battle prevented him from being in control when the carmaker finally achieved a longstanding desire – become the No. 1 in the world (they are the interim leaders after the first six months of the year).