Volkswagen’s supervisory board Chairman Ferdinand Piech unexpectedly resigned on Saturday after losing a showdown he provoked with Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn. Piech, a dominant figure at VW for more than two decades and the grandson of the inventor of the VW Beetle, also resigned as member of the supervisory board and any other mandates within the Volkswagen group with immediate effect, Volkswagen said. The leadership row at VW burst into the open this month when Der Spiegel quoted Piech, the 78-year-old patriarch of the family that owns 51 percent of voting rights in VW, as saying he had “distanced” himself from Winterkorn.
The members of the steering committee came to a consensus that, in the light of the past weeks, the mutual trust necessary for successful cooperation was no longer there.
the six-member panel said in a statement after another meeting on Saturday
Piech resigned with immediate effect from all his roles at Volkswagen including as an ordinary supervisory board member, as did his second wife Ursula, a former nanny who joined the supervisory board in 2012. The leadership row burst into the open this month when news weekly Der Spiegel quoted family patriarch Piech as saying he had “distanced” himself from CEO Winterkorn. The comment came at a time when VW is cutting billions of euros of costs and revamping structures, having struggled with chronic underperformance in the United States and declining profitability at its core autos division.