Days after Volkswagen’s Chairman Ferdinand Piech raised doubts about CEO Martin Winterkorn’s future, VW’s board squelched those concerns with a public show of support and news of a new contract coming next year.
“The Executive Committee of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG states that Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn is the best possible Chairman of the Board of Management for Volkswagen,” the board’s six-member executive committee said in a statement, adding it plans to extend Winterkorn’s contract next year. Piech is part of the committee.
Winterkorn, who has been CEO since 2007, has been in charge of the automaker as its sales have grown and the company is challenging Toyota for the title of world’s largest automaker.
The flap about Winterkorn came about because of an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel that Piech, the grandson of VW’s founder, Ferdinand Porsche, said he was “at a distance from Winterkorn.”
Part of the stress at Volkswagen appeared to stem from the fact that neither Winterkorn nor the company’s board of supervisors, headed by Piech, has reached agreement on a successor to Winterkorn. However, a contract extension for the 67-year-old CEO would ease some of those concerns.
(VW’s Piech gives Winterkorn a thumbs down. For more, Click Here.)
Piech, who has served as VW’s CEO, has shaken up VW’s management almost on a whim in the past. Ironically, he was instrumental in installing Winterkorn as CEO.
(Click Here for details VW’s minivan recall.)
Piech never said specifically what he found lacking in Winterkorn’s performance but analyts have suggested the Volkswagen’s lackluster performance in the U.S. might have been a factor. The plant in Chattanooga is turning into a major sinkhole for the company. However, Winterkorn has successfully coached Audi to a spectacular turnaround in the U.S. during the past several years as possible factors.
(To see more about VW expecting to surpass last year’s sales results, Click Here.)
Winterkorn was supported by members of the Porsche family, who sometimes at odds with Piech, who is the grandson of VW founder, Ferdinand Porsche, and of the major labor unions and employee representatives, who under German law have 50% of the seats on the supervisory board.
Josesph Szczesny contributed to this report.
One response to “VW Board Gives Winterkorn Vote of Confidence”
From other sources with stories on this deal it appears the real issue is who will succeed Piech when he retires from his position as chairman of the supervisory board, at the end of ’16. Piech does not want Winterkorn to become the new chairman as he feels Winterkorn lacks the vision to run the entire VW conglomerate.
So it looks like Piech’s reign as dictatorship at VW has finally come to an end as the board he presides over has overwhelming endorsed Winterkorn and “distanced themselves” from Piech. LOL
I will say that VW Ag has no clue regarding the U.S. market nor it’s customer so hopefully they can figure this problem out – it’s not difficult. Until they change their ways, they will never rebuild VW sales in the U.S.