“underestimate Ferdinand Piëch not. That’s very clear who knows exactly what he’s doing.” This was to hear from the surroundings of the Porsche family a few days ago. That family who had taught Piëch’s attack on Martin Winterkorn and the sentence he was “at a distance” to the CEO, recently even wiped out as a “private opinion” and the Patriarch’s first defeat. Piëch was absolutely fit, he worked as ever, perceive all events, it said. It is further the power factor of the Group, the patriarch. Now Ferdinand Piëch is history. At least as chairman of the board of Volkswagen.
After a further crisis meeting of the presidential Saturday in Braunschweig his resignation was declared. Until last Piëch had tried in the instigated by his power struggle with Volkswagen, to turn the tide for themselves and against Martin Winterkorn. In the end, in secret talks with Porsche in Stuttgart on Wednesday this week. In vain. Due to the nature of his attack on Winterkorn he had shot himself off.
Piëch is now the big loser of this power struggle. “He has the company plunged without distress in turmoil. It was no longer acceptable,” a source said on Saturday. It is tired in Wolfsburg that a company will with almost 600,000 employees, controlled by monosyllabic sentences that fell in the media, they say. The message of the Supervisory Bureau was clear: The days are gone, when an individual and a tiny group of men at the discretion of Germany’s largest industrial conglomerate controlled. Volkswagen is starting today another company.
The Incredible happened
With the withdrawal Piëch and his Ursula from the Supervisory Board is done the unbelievable. The man who drew the group last almost omnipotent since the early 90s going – but who follows him? Then it was on Saturday no answers. After the meeting in Braunschweig stated the executive noted that “no longer applies the reciprocal of a successful collaboration trust in the light of recent weeks.”
At the end of the winter grain supporters have thus nevertheless enforced. In place of Ferdinand Piëch the previously Deputy Executive Chairman Berthold Huber. He takes office as acting. Huber will lead the board meeting on May 4 and the Annual General Meeting the following day. Its main task will be but to organize the choice to a successor Piëch.
“Ferdinand Piëch has rendered great service to Volkswagen and the entire automotive industry. The development of the last two weeks has led to a loss of confidence between the Supervisory Board Chairman and the other committee members which has proven in the past few days than not solvable, “Berthold Huber said. “The last two weeks have led to uncertainty among employees of VW, this uncertainty must be shut down today.”
“I have the discussion in the past two weeks, very sorry, “said the Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil (SPD) in a scheduled press conference with Huber in Hanover. “Still, it was imperative in the now occurring situation, to end the speculation and to ensure clarity in the leadership of VW.” It was the wish of the shareholders that Berthold Huber now first provisionally take over the leadership of the company’s chairman. He was doing the explicit support of the shareholders.
Piëch and Porsche families seem paralyzed
That Weil and Huber officially declared the development for employers and employees in the Supervisory Board, speaks volumes. There, so the works council and the IG Metall and the state of Lower Saxony, the Volkswagen anchor shareholder with a blocking minority in important decisions, the resistance against Piëch was particularly large. The Piëch and Porsche families initially did not comment on the events – they seemed paralyzed this Saturday
In the evening, Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Board. Porsche Automobil Holding SE, the following comments: “We have full confidence in the management of Volkswagen AG and sorry for the development of the past few days, we thank Ferdinand Piëch for the decades of his extraordinary and highly successful application for the Volkswagen Group We will continue to.. with great loyalty fulfill our responsibility as a major shareholder of the Volkswagen Group and its 600,000 employees. “
The message of Piëch’s resignation met even top managers in the VW Group surprising. Saturday afternoon had insider Although predicted that there would now be “fast Showdown”. It was unclear, however, who would throw at the showdown first -. Winterkorn or Piëch
After his surprisingly harsh attack on Winterkorn Piëch had been isolated in the Group. In an emergency meeting of the six-member Supervisory Bureau in Salzburg only he himself had a disempowerment of winter grain advocated the five other participants, including Weil, Huber and council boss Bernd Osterloh and Wolfgang Porsche had demonstratively behind Winterkorn.
In the past few days it became clear that the resistance to the Supervisory Board Piëch was greater. More and more members to the Board now demanded the resignation of the Supervisory Board bosses. For final reports had caused confusion of Thursday, after Piëch should have tried again to dismantle Winterkorn – this time in individual meetings with members of the Porsche family. Piëch denied this and made it clear that he had agreed with the CEO Winterkorn on a “trustworthy cooperation”. This kowtow had the VW patriarch weakened again.
The key shareholder
Kindled had Piëch the power struggle before about two weeks with the public record that he was “at a distance to Winterkorn”. The motives for the attack on Piëch Winterkorn, with whom he had decades he worked closely and even elevated to the executive chair at Volkswagen, are still unclear. That Volkswagen has some unresolved issues is undisputed. But Piëch, even not a man of quick shots could have tried to solve with winter grain – or at least address his attack on the chief executive and longtime confidant less dramatic. This went on for the withdrawal of confidence basically a “me or he.”
The key question now is who will follow Piëch. His departure leaves a huge gap. Because of Porsche’s grandson is not only chairman of the board and architect of the success of Volkswagen, he is also the ultimate shareholder in the company. Without him, or without the Piëch and Porsche families can in Volkswagen AG are no important decisions.
The Piëch and Porsche hold one hundred percent of the voting common shares and half of the preference shares of Porsche Holding SE. And which in turn owns 50.7 percent of the shares in Volkswagen AG. The Porsches have in the holding SE in terms of proportions, a slightly overweight, but both families must always speak with one voice. And the single largest shareholder is Ferdinand Piëch. He is also a speaker of this branch of the family and the strong man at the Piëch and Porsche. There will almost certainly not new chairman against the will of Ferdinand Piëch. “At the end of the families always pull together,” the Porsches had stressed again in recent days.
Now, it can be speculated that Piëch with his retreat will achieve a final victory: that he, after he had himself become untenable, opens the way to have a decisive influence on his successor in office can. According to the plans within the Group which remained unchallenged, Winterkorn should shift to the end of his contract in 2016 at the head of the Supervisory Board. This had Piëch want to avoid at all costs. An alternative to Winterkorn however, he was not named. That his wife Ursula could take office, he had even denied. Another strong man from the family he had never built
The proposal for the new Chairman of Volkswagen comes from the capital side -. Thus, in the first place by the two families, the state of Lower Saxony and the major investor Qatar. Today one can assume that the Piëch and Porsche families will have their say a critical word in the proposal.