Martin Winterkorn (Photo: VW)
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn is "the best possible chairman of the board of management," the Executive Committee of the carmaker's Supervisory Board said in a statement Friday.
The announcement comes after Supervisory Board Chairman Ferdinand Piech last week expressed reservations about Winterkorn's leadership. Piech is head of the Porsche-Piech family, which owns more than half of VW's shareholder capital. The Executive Committee consists of a subset of supervisory board members.
"The Executive Committee places great importance on the fact that Prof. Dr. Winterkorn will pursue his role as Chairman of the Board of Management with the same vigor and success as before, and that he has the full support of the Committee in doing so," the statement continued.
And it said it would propose to the supervisory board to extend Winterkorn's current contract.
Winterkorn was expected to retire next year and then succeed Piech as head of the supervisory board. But following a comment by Piech to the German news magazine Der Spiegel that he was "at a distance" toÂ Winterkorn, that scenario looked increasingly unlikely.
The Volkswagen CEO, whoÂ has presided over a sharp growth in global sales, has come under criticism for relatively low profit margins at the core VW brand and continued problems in the carmaker's US operations.