The influence that the Piech-Porsche family exerts over Volkswagen isn’t going away anytime soon as the company has nominated Ferdinand Piech for a third term as supervisory board chairman. He has also proposed that his wife would enter the board. Under the board’s proposal, Ursula Piech (who is 55 years old) would replace TUI AG Chief Executive Officer Michael Frenzel, whose term expires at the annual meeting on April 19.
Ferdinand Piech (who is 74 years old) wants to seek another term in leading the board. Sources said that he is supported by board to still serve as chairman.
With Ursula Piech’s entry, this means that the Piech-Porsche family members on the 20-person board will now be five. The others are Hans Michel Piech, Ferdinand Oliver Porsche and Wolfgang Porsche.
This family controls the Porsche SE holding company, which in turn owns a majority of VW's voting shares. Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, said that VW has transformed into an Austrian family-run company “in essence.” He added that typically, the decisions are made by the company.
Volkswagen’s annual meeting invitation stated that Ursula Piech is a "kindergarten teacher with additional qualifications in business and law.” However, she isn’t currently working. Piech has been influential at VW for many years.
In fact he had previously served as chief executive officer before serving as board chairman. At the end of 2006, Piech removed then-CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder and put in Audi chief Martin Winterkorn. Last Monday, Winterkorn said that Ursula Piech is a "very competent" person that will help with goal for VW to surpass General Motors Co. as the largest automaker in the world by 2018.