By on August 26, 2019

Ferdinand Piech, Image: Volkswagen AG

The patriarch of the Volkswagen Group family, Ferdinand Karl Piëch, died in a Bavarian hospital on Sunday at the age of 82, Bloomberg reports. German newspaper Bild broke the story.

As CEO of Volkswagen Group from 1993 to 2002, Piëch, grandson of Porsche founder Ferdinand Porsche, led the VW brand back from the brink of bankruptcy and added a host of glitzy brands to the corporate fold. (Read More…)

By on May 3, 2018

Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has been charged by U.S. prosecutors with conspiracy and wire fraud, according to an indictment that was unsealed in a Michigan federal court on Thursday. For those of you who have been following the Dieselgate scandal from the beginning, this has been a long time coming.

Winterkorn has been at the epicenter of the emissions-cheating issue since before VW’s earliest admissions and was swiftly removed from his post as the automotive group’s chief executive in 2015. He also had a major falling out with ex-supervisory board chairman Ferdinand Piëch after being confronted on the emissions issue during the Geneva Motor Show.

The two had previously held a very close relationship but a power struggle within the organization appeared to have been brewing for quite some time, making the scandal an important turning point. Piëch became vaguely accusatory of Winterkorn in the aftermath and eventually cut ties with the company and, by extension, his family. All the while Winterkorn was under investigation in both the United States and Germany.  (Read More…)

By on December 29, 2017

Volkswagen VW Badge Emblem Logo

Volkswagen Group said on Thursday that it would be petitioning Germany’s constitutional court to overturn the appointment of a special auditor to investigate the actions of its management during its diesel emissions scandal. Appointed last November, the auditor’s goal is to establish whether or not VW’s top brass withheld information about the manipulation of vehicle emissions as they related to testing.

Even thought the automaker has said it wanted to improve transparency shortly after the scandal kicked off in September of 2015, Volkswagen wants the work of the auditor suspended prior to the constitutional-court hearing against it. This begs the question: Does VW still have something to hide or is it so fed up with the litigation surrounding “dieselgate” that it’ll do just about anything to keep officials from dredging up the past?  (Read More…)

By on November 9, 2017

Ferdinand Piech, Image: Volkswagen AG
After an extended battle with his family, Ferdinand Piëch has finally acquiesced to resign from the board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE and sell off his remaining shares. At 80 years of age, leaving VW Group’s parent company was probably long overdue for Piëch, but you can’t help but wonder if the manner in which his retirement unfolded hasn’t left him bitter.

Still, with his 14.7 percent stake rumored to be worth over a billion euros, he’ll have the means to stage the most elaborate revenge any of us could possibly imagine — assuming that’s what he intends. One certainly could make the case that he’d have valid reasons for doing it.  (Read More…)

By on May 30, 2017

Ferdinand Piech, Image: Volkswagen AG

Porsche Automobil Holding SE has denied it intentionally misled investors over the severity of the VW emissions cheating crisis in 2015. With Volkswagen AG’s Chief Executive Officer Matthias Müller now personally caught up in the growing market manipulation investigation, it was only a matter of time before Porsche Automobil Holding released a statement to assure investors the board had done its job appropriately.

Müller’s joining of former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, supervisory board chair Hans Dieter Poetsch, and board member Herbert Diess as the focus of government probes has made the situation appear fishier than a trawler’s top deck. However, at this week’s annual shareholders meeting, Poetsch said he is convinced none of the board members are guilty of any wrongdoing — presumably, he included himself in the statement.

“We perceive all legal claims against Porsche SE relating to the diesel issue as unfounded,” he explained.  (Read More…)

By on May 23, 2017

Matthias Müller, Image: Volkswagen AG/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)

Volkswagen has attempted to portray itself as a kinder and more responsible automaker in the wake of its emissions cheating scandal. However, CEO Matthias Müller says convincing middle management to change has proven exceptionally difficult. VW has been pushing to become — or at least seem like — a more transparent company that has decentralized its rigid management hierarchy.

“There are definitely people who are longing for the old centralistic leadership,” Müller stated during a meeting with business representatives on Monday. “I don’t know whether you can imagine how difficult it is to change their mindset.”

It’s been 20 months since the diesel emissions scandal entered the news cycle and Müller took over as chief executive. Throughout that time, VW’s top executives have tossed mid-level employees under the bus on numerous occasions. While there is little reason to doubt some might have trouble adjusting to a new corporate climate, it would be nice to hear top brass taking any semblance of responsibility once in a while — even on something minor like this.  (Read More…)

By on March 17, 2017

piech

One of the preeminent figures within the European automotive industry is looking to get out of the family business. The former paterfamilias of Volkswagen AG, Ferdinand Piech, is looking to dump his stake of Porsche Automobil Holding SE and sever his remaining ties to VW. Piech’s shares would remain within the Porsche-Piech family — allowing them to keep control of Volkswagen Group — but Ferdinand would be out of the game as a majority stakeholder.

Piech has been at odds with his relatives after suggesting that Wolfgang Porsche and several other VW supervisory board members had been aware of Volkswagen’s emissions cheating much earlier than they claimed. Sources close to the family, whose members are apparently outraged, have stated that the Porsche-Piech gang sought to replace him at the table of Porsche Holdings ever since.  (Read More…)

By on March 12, 2017

VW logo

Former chairman of Volkswagen’s supervisory board Ferdinand Piech may soon be losing his seat on the Porsche SE board as well. While the Porsche and Piech families have combined their VW holdings in Porsche SE, its shareholders are voting on the future makeup of the company’s supervisory board at its annual meeting on May 30. However, a complete list of of candidates has to be decided upon by mid-April and Piech’s name seems to be absent from the early draft.

Wolfgang Porsche and Ferdinand’s brother Hans Michel Piech are both on the list of candidates, but Ferdinand Piech is not, according to the German weekly Bild am Sonntag, citing a person close to the matter. They hypothesized that the decision has more than just a little to do with Piech’s recent behavior regarding the VW emissions probe. (Read More…)

By on February 8, 2017

tdiengine

Ferdinand Piëch, former chairman of Volkswagen and grandson of Beetle creator Ferdinand Porsche, is in hot water with his former company.

The ex-chairman resigned in April 2015 — five months before the diesel emissions scandal broke — after the company’s steering committee put his future to a vote. Piëch lost after his rival, then-CEO Martin Winterkorn, saw VW management rally to his side.

A suspiciously hostile divide existed between both men at the time, and recent comments by Piëch may explain why the two doomed executives became such bitter enemies. To say that VW’s supervisory board isn’t happy with his comments would be an understatement. (Read More…)

By on August 30, 2016

Winterkorn, Piech, Piech - Picture courtesy Volkswagen

Former Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piëch resigned his position a month after questioning and failing to get answers from ex-CEO Martin Winterkorn about the company’s defeat devices, an internal probe revealed.

The finding from the investigation by U.S. law firm Jones Day was published in the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Bloomberg reports, shedding light on the power struggle that preceded the diesel emissions scandal. (Read More…)

By on November 5, 2015

Ferdinand-Piech

Ferdinand Piëch, the man who ruled Volkswagen like the king of a Teutonic fiefdom, was likely the cause of the diesel scandal that’s erased billions of dollars of value from Volkswagen as it looks down the barrel of a gun loaded with further billions of dollars worth of recall work, fines and law suits.

Or, at least, that’s the claim made by Bob Lutz.

Former auto industry executive Lutz called Piëch’s leadership style “a reign of terror” before saying “The guy was absolutely brutal,” in his latest piece for Road & Track.

Tell us what you really think, Bob.

(Read More…)

By on September 5, 2015

Ferdinand-Piech

Reports out of Germany indicate that ousted chairman and current majority owner of Volkswagen’s parent group, Ferdinand Piech, may have tampered with the board nomination to replace him.

Piech may have prevented current VW CEO Martin Winterkorn from becoming chairman after the two’s public feud ultimately resulted with Piech’s abrupt resignation in April, Reuters reported.

If true, the backroom dealings would indicate that while Piech may not be overseeing VW anymore, he still wields significant influence on its operations and leadership.

(Read More…)

By on September 3, 2015

Volkswagen Wolfsburg

Porsche Automobil Holding SE announced Thursday that it would propose its CFO Hans Dieter Poetsch to succeed Berthold Huber as chairman of Volkswagen’s supervisory board. The proposal was supported by Volkswagen AG.

Huber was appointed interim chairman for the German automotive giant after Ferdinand Piech was ousted in a dustup among leadership.

The announcement comes only a few days after Volkswagen said it extended its contract with its current CEO, Martin Winterkorn, for two more years and effectively ending his bid to replace Piech. Winterkorn and Piech publicly feuded over VW’s direction, eventually leading to Piech’s surprise resignation as chairman in April.

As a member of the board of majority shareholder in VW’s parent company, Porsche SE, Piech voted alongside the rest of the board unanimously to approve Poetsch as proposed chairman.

(Read More…)

By on September 2, 2015

Martin Winterkorn in Shanghai - Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

Volkswagen will extend its contract with CEO Martin Winterkorn through 2018, Automotive News is reporting, but that two-year deal may make him too old to succeed the man he ousted, Ferdinand Piech, who left the company last year after clashing with Winterkorn. (Read More…)

By on July 13, 2015

Ferdinand-Piech

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.

(Read More…)

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