Volkswagen’s supervisory board confirmed its appointment of Hans Dieter Pötsch to its top seat during a scandal rocking the 78-year-old automaker, the company announced Wednesday.
Pötsch said he would continue the investigation as chairman:
I will do my utmost to uncover the full truth of what happened. I am firmly resolved to make my contribution so that Volkswagen can win back the trust of customers, the public, investors and business partners. And I believe my central task is to play my part in guiding Volkswagen towards a successful future.
The search to replace former Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piech may stretch into next year, Reuters is reporting.
Piech left Volkswagen in April after a showdown with Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn, who is still a candidate for the top position. Piech led VW for more than two decades and is the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche.
Interim chairman Berthold Huber is expected to remain in the position at least until the end of 2015.
A lot of what you hear about Steve Girsky sounds decidedly positive: an outspoken critic of GM, Girsky lasted less than a year as Rick Wagoner’s “roving aide-de-camp,” reportedly due to frustration with management heel-dragging. He even earned TTAC’s “lesser-of-two-evils” endorsement to be Presidential Car Czar over Steve “Chooch” Rattner. When he was appointed to be the UAW rep on GM’s board, representing the union’s VEBA trust which owns 17.5 percent of GM’s stock, he was lauded as someone who could keep his union allegiances at bay. But as special advisor to GM CEO/Chairman Ed Whitacre, Girsky had better be prioritizing GM’s best interests. Reuters reports that he’s being paid a cool $900k in stock grants for his advice. That’s in addition to $200k director’s salary and reimbursement for “living expenses and travel to and from Detroit.” Not bad considering the fuss people are making over compensation at TARP-recipient financial institutions.
The catalyst for all this was the EU saying you only made the money available to one investor. The board did what they should have done and revisited the issue… It’s been a confusing decision, but I don’t think it was handled badly. The circumstances changed from the time this started. The financial part of the business got better. Conditions have changed.
GM Chairman Ed Whitacre on the decision to keep Opel. Financial? Better? Because EU regulators said so? How anyone can see the Opel situation as a “sign of change” is beyond me. GM never wanted to get rid of Opel, they just didn’t want to pay the $8 bil, er, $3 billion to keep it. Too bad German Economics Minister Rainer Bruederle says it’s actually going to cost a cool $5b to restructure Opel. Which GM will just be cannibalizing with Chevwoos anyway. Is any of this not sounding like Old GM?
Well, not so wild ass, obviously. Other than getting sued by disenfranchised Saab
dealers—which isn’t so much of an issue now that Uncle Sam is paying for everything—why wouldn’t GM shutter Saab? When it comes to buying car brands, no one is. Or will be. For a very, very long time. If ever. And GM needs to show its Congressional overlords that it’s doing something about something™. So we’re passing along a tipster’s assertion that yesterday’s resignation of Percy Barnevik from GM’s Board of Directors signals that the axe is about to fall on the Born From Jets brand. The divine Mr. B. was born just (pronounced youst) outside Trollhättan. If he ever wants to show his face in Sweden again, he has to distance himself from the author of Saab’s neglect, abuse and final destruction. You know, GM and its Board of Directors . . . which he joined six years after GM scarfed the Swedish brand, during which time it produced the America-only 9-7x (a TTAC Ten Worst winner). For that alone, I’d be worried.