Hans Dieter Poetsch, Volkswagen’s chief finance officer is one step away from becoming the automaker’s chairman, which could end a tumultuous chapter in the history of the largest European carmaker.
The world’s (interim) biggest automaker has been navigating the Stormlands since the clashing factions degenerated into an open fight between those supporting CEO Martin Winterkorn and the ones behind long-running family patriarch Ferdinand Piech. The latter was the one to lose power and now the rivaling factions seem to have united to back the naming of Poetsch. The company had been looking for a permanent replacement to Piech since his April demise – though he still has enough influence in the carmaker because of his family holding. Just two days ago the supervisory board’s executive and nomination committees decided to propose Winterkorn’s contract extension until the end of 2018 and now the same factors have announced a proposal to put Poetsch, 64, in the chairman position.
Porsche Automobil Holding SE, which owns 51 percent of Volkswagen AG, announced the supervisory board – which includes Piech – offered its unequivocal support to Poetsch’s nomination. “This is good news,” comments analyst Arndt Ellinghorst of research firm Evercore ISI. His view is that Poetsch has a clear view of VW’s current financial issues. He has acted as the group’s finance boss since 2003 and the nomination has lead to a rise in VW’s stock, a sign that investors are also positive about the move. VW opted for an internal candidate because of a better understanding of the intricate relationships between the labor representatives, investors and major stakeholders such as the Lower Saxony and the Porsche-Piech family.