Volkswagen board members demand Piech’s head

Shunned in Shanghai: Piech's new favorite Wolfgang Müller . Winterkorn called in sick

Shunned in Shanghai: Piech’s new favorite Matthias Müller. Winterkorn called in sick

Piech’s planned ouster of Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn could cost Piech the chairman seat, information from Germany says. Top board members opine that if Piech can’t keep the peace, Piech must go. Last week, Winterkorn found the backing of all members of the executive committee of Volkswagen’s Supervisory Board. Wiko even received Piech’s vote – after Piech was threatened with dismissal by the other members. Last week, the DailyKanban wrote: “More tiffs between the erstwhile rope team are pre-programmed.” We did not have to wait long for that.

Piech is not known for being a smooth loser. Only a few days after the boardroom revolt, Piech tried again to get votes for an ejection of Winterkorn. According to Der Spiegel, Piech asked Porsche-chief Matthias Müller to get ready for a takeover. The board was not amused. Piech denies instigating Winterkorn’s dismissal. Not too many believe it.

Managers at Volkswagen are confused. Nobody seems to know the real reasons for the fight at the top. Piech ruled through Winterkorn, and any perceived mistakes are Piech’s. Some think he needs a scapegoat. Some guess it could be personal reasons.

This made for interesting dynamics at the Shanghai Auto Show. At Volkswagen’s pre-party, embattled CEO Martin Winterkorn was in attendance. Next day, at the official press conference, Wiko was a no-show. His supposed replacement Matthias Müller sat there, all alone, and everybody kept their distance. In a situation like that, the wise manager maintains cover. You never know.