Volk­swa­gen em­ploy­ees urge an end to strug­gle for power by man­agers

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Em­ploy­ees at Ger­man auto gi­ant Volk­swa­gen urged man­age­ment Mon­day to set­tle a bit­ter power strug­gle and fo­cus in­stead on run­ning Europe’s big­gest car­maker fol­low­ing me­dia re­ports of strained re­la­tions be­tween VW’s su­per­vi­sory board chief and its CEO.

“We ask that the fo­cus should re­turn to the suc­cess­ful day-to­day run­ning of the com­pany and its 600,000 em­ploy­ees, rather than on de­bates that fill news­pa­pers,” the head of VW’s gen­eral works com­mit­tee Bernd Oster­loh told the busi­ness daily Han­dels­blatt.

“We will not par­tic­i­pate in any fur­ther dis­cus­sions about peo­ple and their po­si­tions,” Oster­loh added.

VW’s su­per­vi­sory board chief Fer­di­nand Piech, a mem­ber of the pow­er­ful Porsche dy­nasty that is a share­holder in Volk­swa­gen, and one of the most im­por­tant fig­ures in Ger­man busi­ness, sparked a fe­ro­cious me­dia de­bate at the week­end by declar­ing in a mag­a­zine in­ter­view that he was “dis­tanc­ing him­self” from VW’s Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Martin Win­terkorn.

Un­til now, Win­terkorn was seen as Piech’s close ally and heir ap­par­ent on the car­maker’s su­per­vi­sory board.

Piech’s com­ments ig­nited spec­u­la­tion of a fierce lead­er­ship battle that could de­rail the smooth run­ning of the com­pany.

But VW’s other share­hold­ers ral­lied be­hind Win­terkorn, leav­ing Piech look­ing iso­lated.

Ste­fan Weil, the re­gional pre­mier of the state of Lower Sax­ony, which holds a stake of 20 per­cent, said he saw “no cause for ac­tion” in the man­age­ment of VW and warned that “a public dis­cus­sion about the lead­er­ship of VW (is) dam­ag­ing” for the car­maker.

The Porsche fam­ily, fused to side with Piech.

“The state­ment from Dr. Piech por­trays his pri­vate opin­ion, which is not aligned ... with that of the fam­ily,” his cousin, Wolf­gang Porsche said in a state­ment.

The hold­ing com­pany Porsche SE holds just over 50 per­cent of VW’s share cap­i­tal. Piech and other branches of the Piech and Porsche fam­i­lies own 14 per­cent of Porsche SE.

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