The contract of Volkswagen AG's CEO, 63-year-old Martin Winterkorn, was extended by five years as he seeks to complete a merger with Porsche Automobil Holding SE and outdo Toyota Motor Corp. to take its place as the world's largest carmaker.
VW recently said in a statement that the company's supervisory board unanimously backed Winterkorn's appointment through 2016.
He started as CEO on Jan. 1, 2007 and his current contract expires Dec. 31, 2011. Under Winterkorn, VW added Swedish truck maker Scania AB to its portfolio and is now merging with Porsche. In 2011, Winterkorn plans to open a factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., as he seeks to beat Toyota in sales and profitability by 2018.
VW controls 3.1 percent of the U.S. market, where its sales rose 21 percent through November 2010, which is almost double the industry's gain.
In another statement, Bernd Osterloh, the supervisory board's deputy chief and head of VW's works council, said that VW wants continuity at the top so it can concentrate on the details of its tasks.
VW's preferred shares, which have replaced its common stock on Germany's DAX Index since the Porsche deal, have more than doubled since 2007 started, when Winterkorn became CEO. In 2010, the stock gained 86 percent, the best performance in the benchmark Index, which added 16 percent.
Sales chief Christian Klingler made a prediction on Dec. 10 that annual deliveries would surpass 7 million vehicles in 2010 for the first time.
VW currently benefits from the rise in demand for models like the VW brand Golf compact and Audi A7 coupe, as well as thriving sales in its largest market, China.