After unsuccessfully attempting to oust current Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, Ferdinand Piech has fallen on his sword and stepped down as the company’s chairman.
Yesterday we summarised the goings-on in the upper echelons of Volkswagen over the past few weeks, with Volkswagen chairman and scion Ferdinand Piech (above) looking to unseat the company’s current CEO, Martin Winterkorn.
Above: Martin Winterkorn (left) and Ferdinand Piech (right).
Last week, Volkswagen’s six-person executive committee threw their full support Winterkorn. The committee includes Piech, his cousin Wolfgang Porsche, and representatives of VW’s unions and the German state of Lower Saxony. This statement of solidarity, though, didn’t end the stream of plots and counterplots, which continued to dominate the German and automotive press.
Today, Volkswagen Group’s executive committee met again to deal with the issue. According to the company, the “members of the Executive Committee have unanimously determined that in view of the background of the last weeks the mutual trust necessary for successful cooperation no longer exists”.
As a result, Ferdinand Piech stood down as the company’s chairman. He also resigned from Volkswagen’s 20-member supervisory board, as has his wife Ursula Piech.
According to Automotive News, Piech stepped down today without bringing matters to a vote.
Deputy chairman Berthold Huber will temporarily assume the chairmanship of the company, and will conduct the firm’s annual general meeting, which is scheduled for May 5.
Together the Porsche and Piech families control around 51 percent of Volkswagen’s voting stock. Wolfgang Porsche, chairman of the families’ investment vehicle, Porsche Automobil Holding SE, issued a statement to the media stating, “We have complete faith in the management of Volkswagen and regret the developments of recent days”.
Ferdinand Piech is a nephew of Porsche founder Ferry Porsche and is an engineer by training. During his career he has worked in various roles at Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen.
Piech is widely seen as a driving force behind many iconic vehicles, including the Audi Quattro, Volkswagen New Beetle, Bugatti Veyron and Volkswagen Phaeton. As part of a failed attempt to purchase Rolls-Rolls Cars, Piech brought Bentley into the Volkswagen Group’s stable of brands, which now includes VW, Ducati, Seat, Skoda, Audi, Lamborghini and Porsche.