Ferdinand Piëch, who started his career at Porsche and is forever tied to its racing success with the development of the 906, the 904 GTS and most notably the 917, has held the reigns at VW since 1993. And while Piëch is known to make news for his gutsy and audacious calls (the Bugatti Veyron, the VW Phaeton, the Audi Quattro, to name a few) he’s most recently been dominating the automotive headlines for withdrawing his support from CEO Martin Winterkorn as his successor as Chairman at VW.
Piëch’s continued attempts at getting Winterkorn removed failed last week when VW’s steering committee voted in favor of Winterkorn, by a margin of five to one (including his cousin Wolfgang Porsche), leaving Piëch isolated. Despite publicly denying it, many have said that Piëch continue his machinations against Winterkorn even after agreeing to give his support.
Things came to a head this Saturday at a hastily called meeting where “The members of the steering committee came to a consensus that, in the light of the past weeks, the mutual trust necessary for successful cooperation was no longer there,” said the panel’s official statement afterwards. Immediately following Saturday’s meeting, Piëch, the 78-year old grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, tendered his resignation as the Chairman of Volkswagen.
Ironically, even after his departure, Piëch still might have some say in the what happens at Volkswagen through his ownership and board position of Porsche Autombil Holding SE which owns 50.7% of VW’s common stock. However, after Porsche’s statement below, it’s unclear how much influence, if any, Piëch has left.
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, chairman of the supervisory board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE, Stuttgart, had the following to say: “We have full confidence in the board of management of Volkswagen Group and we deeply regret the developments of the last few days. We thank Ferdinand Piëch for his decades of extraordinary and highly successful service to the Volkswagen Group. Our great loyalty to the Volkswagen Group and its 600,000 employees remains unchanged and we assume our responsibility as a principal shareholder.“