Ferdinand Piech (Photo: VW)
Ferdinand Piech resigned SaturdayÂ as head of the Volkswagen Group supervisory board, seemingly bringing to an end a two-week battle over who's in controlÂ at Europe's largest automotive group.
"The members of the Executive Committee have unanimously determined that in view of the background of the last weeks the mutual trust necessary ”Žfor successful cooperation no longer exists," VW said in a press statement.
It added that Piech has resigned from the supervisory board effective immediately. His wife, Ursula Piech, also resigned from the board.
Deputy Chairman Behold Huber, former head of the powerful IG Metall union, has taken over as chairman on an interim basis.
In a separate statement, Piech's cousin Wolfgang Porsche, who heads the supervisory board of Porsche Holding, said he regretted "the developments of recent days." He added that Porsche Holding, the majority shareholder in VW, would "live up to its responsibilities" vis-a-vis the Volkswagen Group and its 600,000 employees. Porsche is owned by the Porsche and Piech families, which, through the Porsche Group, also control VW.
Piech triggered the most recent chain of events by expressing doubts about the management of VW CEO Martin Winterkorn. Piech told Germany's Der Spiegel magazine two weeks ago that he was "at a distance" to Piech. This was widely interpreted as a signal that the Porsche and Piech families desired a new CEO.
Shortly after the remark, however, key members of the family as well as the VW supervisory board, made it clear that they sided with Winterkorn.