By on July 17, 2009

Der Spiegel has it on good authority that Porsche’s Wendelin Wiedeking is history. The Porsche/Piech families sent Wendy packing. A new successor is already found: Michael Macht. He is director of production, and has a good reputation in the business—for producing cars. This indicates in which direction the board meeting on July 23 will go.


Two deals are on the table. Either the Sheik of Qatar will invest heavily into Porsche. Or Volkswagen buys Porsche. Wiedeking is for the Sheik. And that’s why he needs to go. The families apparently favor the Volkswagen solution. Porsche is sending out meek denials, along the lines of “no such information” or “this needs a board resolution, and we don’t know of any.” The denials are falling on deaf ears. Throughout the country, newspapers cite “board members” who say that Wiedeking is done.

In Germany, the size of the platinum parachute is already making headlines. Der Spiegel writes it could be “easily more than €100M.”

Porsche’s hometown paper Stuttgarter Nachrichten writes: “Piech has the aura of a boss-murderer: Whether the former Audi boss Paefgen, or the former VW CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder, or the former director Geudevert—nobody who fell from grace with Piech could maintain his job. Wiedeking thought he could be the first to survive Piech’s thunderbolt. He was wrong.”

For Michael Macht, it’s the second attempt to get the top job at Porsche. Groomed by Wiedeking, Macht was slated to take over Wiedeking’s job in Zuffenhausen after Wiedeking would take over Wolfsburg. This didn’t happen. With Piech in full power, Macht (his name translates to “power”) will have less. Also, Piech is not adverse to corporate cleansing: After the top dog has been sent into exile, his former vassals often find themselves in strange locations or meaningless jobs.

When everything is said and done, Volkswagen will have ten brands, the tenth being Porsche. Volkswagen already produces more than 30 percent of what goes into a Porsche. Volkswagen will most likely have three owners: Lower Saxony with 20 percent, Qatar with 20 percent, the Porsche/Piech clan with 51 percent, and some stock floating around.

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8 Comments on “Meet the New Porsche Chief; Wiedeking Dethroned...”


  • avatar
    Pch101

    For the record, Porsche is officially denying the story:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090717-709180.html

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601100&sid=a66aS_ARR9ls

  • avatar

    Pch101: Denials, noted in the article, but nobody believes them anymore.

    They are “not aware of any decision” and “Wiedeking is still in his office.” An outgoing CEO will keep his office and secretary for years in large German companies.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Is he any relation to Ernst Macht?

  • avatar
    Sutures

    Wendelin Wiedeking
    Porsche/Piech
    Michael Macht

    Curiously, can anyone also see some trippy trend happening here?

  • avatar

    @Sutures: yup. +they’re all big fans of Lois Lane, Clark Kent & Lex Luthor.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Bertel, I can see your point about writing a thinly disguised novel involving Ferdinand Piech. This guy plays for keeps. Better make it a thickly disguised novel. I recommend locating to America in the roaring ’20’s, when there were plenty of car companies to choose from. Just make sure the movie carries the disclaimer “…any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is unintentional, so please don’t sue me, Herr Piech.”

  • avatar

    It will be interesting to see what will happen when Piech dies one day.
    How many madmen will be needed to replace this single madman? How will they succeed with an inherited conglomerate of brands/companies? VW, Audi, Porsche, Skoda, Seat, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti.
    Strange enough, that they still make money, given the overlap within their core business brands VW, Audi, Skoda, Seat. Then you have to consider the shareholder groups, like the Sheiks of Lower Saxony, of Qatar, maybe, other interest groups like political parties, trade unions…
    All ingredients for a pretty nice soap opera/drama. Let’s wait and see.

  • avatar
    th009

    While Piech has everything to do with building the biggest stable of brands in the industry (don’t forget Scania!), thanks for the profitability and the brand management really go to VW’s management team, who had to deal with the results of Piech’s shopping spree.

    That team has succeeded in a combination of platform strategy, manufacturing cost reductions and brand positioning, none of those easy (just as GM). Pischetsrieder, Winterkorn, Bernhard et al deserve a lot of credit for taking VW to where it is today.

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