Wiedeking Witchhunt Worsens, Woman Waits

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

After every paper in Germany, and soon thereafter most on the globe had reported the ouster of Wendelin Wiedeking as Porsche CEO, his chairman Wolfgang Porsche belatedly came to his rescue: Friday evening, Wolfgang Porsche, chairman of the Porsche supervisory board, said that this is all wrong. In Germany’s fat weekend-editions, the denial is mentioned only in passing. Nobody seems to buy it.

What makes headlines is that Volkswagen might be first to fire Wiedeking. As representative of the 51 percent Porsche owns in VW, Wiedeking sits on VW’s supervisory board. It will meet on July 23, coincidentally when the Porsche supervisory board meets, and likewise coincidentally, both boards meet in Stuttgart. That makes it easier for two people: Ferdinand Piech is the chairman of the Volkswagen board, he also sits on the Porsche board. Wiedeking needs to report to his Porsche board, but he also needs to attend the Volkswagen board meeting.

It may be his last meeting.

According to the German magazine Focus, the Volkswagen board wants to kick out Wiedeking. The votes are there, says Focus: Piech, Lower Saxony’s premier Wulff, and the worker side, represented by Bernd Osterloh, Bernd Wehlauer, and Jürgen Peters will jointly say “Nein” when asked whether Wiedeking should continue to serve.

An unnamed Volkswagen board member told Focus:”Wiedeking can make up his mind whether he resigns on his own volition, or whether we need to remove him in a not so kind manner.”

Answer from Zuffenhausen? The Porsche workers come to the aid of their (current) boss Wiedeking. The workers threaten to seize the Porsche factories in Zuffenhausen and Weissach and shut them down. That threat is dealt with a German “na und?”(so what?)

What’s creating banner headlines, from the Borkener Zeitung to the Wiesbadener Kurier, is the fact that Volkswagen now wants to swallow Porsche whole.

Der Spiegel has it on good authority (probably the same that leaked the Wiedeking ouster) that VW plans a Porsche two-step. Step one: Volkswagen takes over 49.9 percent of Porsche. Step two: VW buys the rest. Possibly, VW even buys Porsche’s crown jewels in Austria. Amongst the most precious gems: One of the, if not the largest car dealer groups in Europe.

In return, the Porsche/Piech families would own more than 50 percent of what looks like the world’s second largest automaker. Lower Saxony keeps its 20 percent. The Sheik of Qatar will hold anywhere between 15 and 20 percent. Reuters already has an idea of how much this would cost: €8b, or $11.28b for the whole shebang. That should cover a good chunk of Porsche’s debt, but not all:two sources told Reuters that the debt “has ballooned to considerably more than 10 billion euros.” Playing hedgefunds is risky business. Win some, lose some.

While the two alpha males Piech and Wiedeking pound chests and tables, the final decision could come from a woman. Her name is Mouza Bint Nasser al-Missned.

The Sheik of Qatar didn’t exhaust his full quota, he has only three wives. Mouza Bint Nasser al-Missned is his second. She is his closest advisor. If she can convince a Sheik to give suffrage to women (she did) she can easily tell her husband whether it’s Piech or Wiedeking. If the strikingly beautiful 50 year old points at Piech, the Sheik will drop €7B on Volkswagen, Volkswagen swallows Porsche, Wiedeking is history. If she points at Wiedeking, the €7B will go to Porsche, Wiedeking can finish his takeover, and Piech can write his memoirs.

Piech and the Sheik should get along well. The Sheik has three wives and seven children. Piech has at least 12 children out of at least four “relationships.” But maybe the Sheik doesn’t want to be upstaged? Who knows. Stay tuned for the next episode.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Shaker Shaker on Jul 19, 2009

    'Clouseau' is looking at Mouza, thinking "Mou... I think zis is ze beginning of a beautiful friendship -- ahh, who am I fooling?"

  • Stingray Stingray on Jul 20, 2009

    That lady is gorgeous, partial veil and all. I have popcorn... a container full, selling for cheap... And the end of the soup opera is not fully defined yet...

  • Calrson Fan Jeff - Agree with what you said. I think currently an EV pick-up could work in a commercial/fleet application. As someone on this site stated, w/current tech. battery vehicles just do not scale well. EBFlex - No one wanted to hate the Cyber Truck more than me but I can't ignore all the new technology and innovative thinking that went into it. There is a lot I like about it. GM, Ford & Ram should incorporate some it's design cues into their ICE trucks.
  • Michael S6 Very confusing if the move is permanent or temporary.
  • Jrhurren Worked in Detroit 18 years, live 20 minutes away. Ren Cen is a gem, but a very terrible design inside. I’m surprised GM stuck it out as long as they did there.
  • Carson D I thought that this was going to be a comparison of BFGoodrich's different truck tires.
  • Tassos Jong-iL North Korea is saving pokemon cards and amibos to buy GM in 10 years, we hope.
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