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VW crisis: Piëch distances himself from Winterkorn: Porsche supports Winterkorn

VW crisis: Piëch is distancing itself from Winterkorn
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Ferdinand Piëch (77) is not a friend of many Words. What he says sits. And basically has what it takes to shake the entire group to its foundations. That was when he formed Volkswagen into a global corporation in his role as CEO, and it has not changed as Chairman of the Supervisory Board. 'I'm at a distance from Winterkorn', Piëch said from S PIEGEL Online quoted. Six simple words. A short sentence with enough explosive power to pulverize the entire future scenario of the VW group.

Winterkorn contract expires at the end of 2016

So far, 68-year-old Winterkorn has been the only seriously eligible candidate for Piëch's successor if he gives up the chairmanship of the supervisory board. Only the timing seemed open. Piëch brought Winterkorn to Audi in 1981 and built it up over decades. According to reports, the duo has maintained a trusting relationship so far and together set the course for the future of VW. Winterkorn's contract expires at the end of 2016, and so far he has not given a clear answer about a possible contract extension.

Against this background, another Piëch statement from SPIEGEL is extremely important: 'I am aiming for the The right people come to the top of the supervisory board and the executive board. And these are not family members, nor is my wife. ' Ursula Piëch is currently a member of the VW Supervisory Board. 'She won't do more,' says Piëch, contradicting persistent rumors about the role of his wife. The magazine also writes that the decision about the future VW boss will not be made until 2017, 'shortly before I leave,' said Piëch. The candidates for this are obviously already in the company. The board of directors and the supervisory board would have to be led by a technician.

Strategic problems

The causes of the open rifts between patriarch and foster son are manifold, but not immediately obvious. At first glance, Volkswagen is doing splendidly under the leadership of Martin Winterkorn. VW chases from record to record. Sales, turnover and profit improve from year to year. The group already sells more cars than General Motors (GM), the throne of world market leader Toyota is shaking. And yet hadFerdinand Piëch, when asked in March 2014 whether he saw the group on the right track, replied: 'Not really'.

It is primarily strategic problems that Winterkorn has not solved for years from Piëch's point of view has: The margins of the core brand VW passenger cars are no longer consistently close to the values ​​of the competition. In the USA, the second largest sales market in the world, VW is losing market share. And then there is the long announced 'cheap car' with which the group wants to advance into the young emerging markets and which is still a long time coming. For the technology-mad Piëch an untenable situation.

Works council still stands on Winterkorn

So much for VW Committees are now struggling to maintain composure: Piëch's approach is not new. Eight years ago he disposed of Winterkorns Bernd Pischetsrieder prematurely. He used the dissatisfaction of the employees. So far, however, they are still firmly committed to Winterkorn. VW works council boss Bernd Osterloh has meanwhile backed the CEO: If it were up to the works council, Winterkorn's contract would be extended beyond 2016, said Osterloh. 'There are currently no further questions because Dr. Piëch is the chairman of the supervisory board and we appreciate the combination of two strong personalities at the top of the company.'

The VW supervisory board and Piëch's cousin, Wolfgang Porsche, also strengthens Winterkorn Move. 'The statement made by Dr. Piëch represents his private opinion, which has not been coordinated with the family in terms of content and factual content,' said Wolfgang Porsche as a representative of the Porsche family. As Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Porsche SE, Porsche plays a decisive role in the group with 51 percent of the shares in VW. Because the state of Lower Saxony is also in favor of Winterkorn, the state and employee representatives have a majority on the supervisory board with 12 votes. The Porsche-Piëch families received 5 votes - 3 of them from Piëch.

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