Ferdinand Piech, who plans to lead Volkswagen's to become the largest carmaker in the world, has the backing of the German company's supervisory board for a third term as chairman, according to insiders who seek anonymity due to the confidentiality of the board discussions.
Piech, who thwarted endeavors by Porsche to control VW in 2009, has the support of the majority of the 20-member body for another five-year term, the insiders revealed. The support helps reduce the worry of a leadership gap at the German-based car maker with less than half a year left in Piech's present term and no apparent succession plan in place.
According to Peter May, founder of Intes, a Germany-based consultancy that advises family-owned companies, such as Porsche, on succession issues, the next-generation of leaders at VW "should have been identified long ago."
He added that Volkswagen is in danger of "heading into a vacuum." VW is leaning on CEO Martin Winterkorn and Piech, whose current term will end on April 19, 2012, to spearhead its pursuit of General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. Piech, part of the family that owns Porsche, has spent 18 years at the helm of VW.
He became chairman in 2002 after nine years as CEO. His protege, Winterkorn, became CEO in 2007. In the first half of 2011, the automaker overcame its primary competitors in profit.
Boosted by the growing sales in Brazil and China, VW's net income increased at least three times to 6.5 billion euros or $9.1 billion, overcoming GM's $6.45 billion and the 31.4 billion yen or $410 million at Toyota, according to Bloomberg data. [source: BusinessWeek]