Volkswagen denied a report by German business daily Handelsblatt that its supervisory board chairman is planning to quit in the next few months due to health reasons. The paper cited sources close to VW chairman Ferdinand Piech as saying that he would likely step down in the coming months. VW spokeswoman, however, remarked that Piech “is in the best of health and will remain supervisory board chairman of Volkswagen for a long time."
Piech has tagged VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn, who is leading the carmaker until the end of 2016, as his preferred successor as chairman, Handelsblatt said. On this matter, VW’s spokeswoman said that Winterkorn will remain CEO “for a long time,” adding that any further speculation is “superfluous."
According to the daily, VW’s current chief financial officer Hans Dieter would succeed Winterkorn as CEO for a short time, after which Audi CEO Rupert Stadler would rise to hold the top honcho’s post at VW.
Handelsblatt said that VW’s supervisory board will be at the end of September, until which the carmaker will only focus on the Frankfurt motor show slated next week. Piech has been on top of things at Volkswagen for around 20 years, then as chief executive and now as chairman.
Piech has been credited for transforming Volkswagen into the third-largest carmaker in the world, as he oversaw acquisition of luxury brands like Bentley and Lamborghini. During his time, VW was able to expand its reach while lowering engineering costs across all brands via an innovative new platform strategy.