Volkswagen: the Porsche and Piëch families want more control

Volkswagen: the Porsche and Piëch families want more control

Movement in sight at the leading European car manufacturer. Volkswagen’s majority shareholder families want to gain more control within the brand, in the run-up to Porsche’s planned IPO, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The Porsche and Piëch families, who control the Porsche SE holding company, which itself holds most of Volkswagen’s voting rights, hope to return the group to calmer waters after a turbulent period under outgoing chief executive Herbert Diess, the sources said. “They want to keep a closer eye on the implementation of the strategic orientations,” a person familiar with the families’ strategic reflections told Reuters. Herbert Diess’ direct style has aroused some resistance within the company, which has sometimes overshadowed his successes, testing the patience of the families, according to the sources.

Read alsoVolkswagen: Herbert Diess, a boss not so converted to the electric car

“Families are actively involved”

“Families are actively involved – an ability they have long been thought incapable of,” a second source said. This influence has already been reflected in the appointment of Oliver Blume as chairman of the Volkswagen Management board. This decision has attracted criticism from several investors because he will also remain at the helm of Porsche AG, even after a potential IPO. Presented as the “preferred candidate” of the Porsche and Piëch clan, Oliver Blume is expected to bring Porsche AG’s IPO to a successful conclusion, the sources said. Porsche SE and Volkswagen declined to comment.

This listing would allow the families to become direct shareholders of Porsche AG, which was bought by Volkswagen in 2009. “The IPO structure is primarily in response to the families’ interest in tightening their grip on Porsche, and they will not be deterred from doing so,” said Hendrik Schmidt, corporate governance expert at DWS, which owns Volkswagen and Porsche SE shares. The IPO, which has yet to be confirmed, would give the Porsche and Piëch families a blocking minority on the brand founded by their ancestor Ferdinand Porsche in 1931.

(With Reuters)

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