VW patriarch resigns from Board Chair. Cooperation with CEO Winterkorn is closed
Braunschweig. Even the strongest lion loses his first fight at some point – and thus the role as head of the pack. Similarly, it is now Volkswagen patriarch Ferdinand Piëch sent. His most important battle for the shots at Europe’s largest carmaker has lost the 78-year-old. Surprisingly, and immediately he gave on Saturday on his role as Chairman of the Board. Was justified his step with a broken relationship with the other members of the innermost circle VW power – the works council, the state of Lower Saxony and the Porsche family. The power architecture of the VW group is so shocked at the Mark – and faces a historic turning
Piëch was no longer tenable in the end.. The chairman of the board was moved away two weeks ago by VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, 67, and tried to saw off his professional foster son. The conflict was triggered by a single set in an interview: “I am to distance Winterkorn.” The power struggle triggered a conflict between the Porsche and Piëch families who hold the majority in VW.
“The last two weeks have led to a great deal of uncertainty in the management and workforce has occurred. And we saw the need for the Bureau to resolve this uncertainty and blockade, “said Piëch’s interim successor, former IG Metall Chairman Berthold Huber. For hours the closest inner circle of VW had conferred on special insistence from Hannover and Wolfsburg in a building at Braunschweig Airport, searched for another solution, to no avail. Mistrust characterized the atmosphere in the round, Piëch is intended to be conspicuous occurred quietly and defensive. Finally, the Bureau pulled the ripcord and decided Piëch’s departure from office. Also Piëch’s wife Ursula put her mandate from the Supervisory Board.
“The members of the Bureau have jointly determined that no longer given the necessary for a successful collaboration mutual trust in the light of recent weeks is, “it said in a statement the six-strong VW board Bureau after the crisis meeting. Piëch, the grandson of the legendary car designer Ferdinand Porsche was 1993-2002 Volkswagen CEO and oversaw the company then as chairman of the board. He was long regarded as the VW center of power and had decided numerous conflicts for themselves. After dismantling his longtime companion of winter grain but Piëch was a losing battle. VW works council boss Bernd Osterloh, Prime Minister of Lower Stephan Weil and Piëch’s cousin and VW supervisory board Wolfgang Porsche strengthened Winterkorn back.
After Piëch’s resignation the guesswork about the future role of the influential begins owning families in the large enterprise with more than 200 billion euros in sales and nearly 600,000 employees. And the replacement of the Supervisory Board. The era of highly successful tandem Piëch / Winterkorn is finished.
While Winterkorn now strengthened and probably freed again full of his job as VW CEO can devote the question remains, who in future the Board directs. To clarify: The Board takes care of the current fiscal, the model policies and business strategies. The supervisory board oversees the work of the Board makes decisions on major investments and determines who is represented on the board. After Piëch’s retreat, the chairman takes over the former deputy Berthold Huber. The former IG Metall leader will also lead the VW Annual General Meeting on May 5 in Hannover. However, Huber will hold that office only temporary.
Whether will be the weeks or months is difficult to estimate at the moment. From the VW environment, it is said that they wanted to leave in search of the Piëch-time successor. And the well is required for several reasons. For Piëch leaves a vacuum as high-profile engineers, strategist, analyst and visionary in one person. He leaves behind large, if not large footprints that will be difficult to fill. “The new chairman of the VW supervisory board needs a great expertise, a very confident manner and a lot of experience with large corporations,” says Professor Stefan Bratzel, director of the Car Institute.
In current VW board there is only one representative, who brings these qualities: VW works council boss Bernd Osterloh. However, it is unclear whether Osterloh has any interest in this position – especially since he would have to give it its activities in the Works. He would also as chairman of the – Change “dark side of the Force”
Anyway, the chairman of the supervisory board is usually determined by the owner fraction of the Supervisory Board – as he always says.. At VW are primarily the Piëch and Porsche families. After the withdrawal of Ferdinand Piëch and his wife Ursula sitting on the branch Piëch only Hans Michel Piech in the VW supervisory body. From the Porsche family, these are Ferdinand Oliver Porsche and Wolfgang Porsche. Theoretically, it is conceivable that now, for example, Wolfgang Porsche moves to the top of the VW supervisory board.
However, this step would shift the balance of power between the two families belonging. For Wolfgang Porsche is already chairman of the board of Porsche Holding SE. This small company, which employs only 30 staff, owns 50.73 percent, the majority of the voting VW ordinary shares.
Porsche SE itself is also a Share Company, which also voting Ordinary shares are again 100 percent owned by the Piëch and Porsche families. The two families have so via Porsche SE calling the shots in the VW group. Previously there were between two families a balanced power relationship with Wolfgang Porsche at the top of the Porsche SE Supervisory Board and Ferdinand Piëch at the top of the VW supervisory board. . Also this is now history
In a statement, Wolfgang Porsche strengthens but the acting chief executive back: “We have full confidence in the management of Volkswagen AG and regret the developments of the last days. We thank Ferdinand Piëch for the decades of his extraordinary and highly successful use of the Volkswagen Group. We will continue to carry out our responsibilities as a major shareholder of the Volkswagen Group and its 600,000 employees with great loyalty. “