This executive cycle isn't uncommon, especially in Germany: CEO displays great leadership over time, then decides to do something daring, then gets caught in a series of unfortunate events, then gets a tarnished reputation, then departs the formerly high-flying company (see also: "Schrempp" and "Pischetsrieder"). Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking is hoping to avoid that last phase, and his company has been fighting back rumors that his departure is imminent.
With Porsche swimming in debt, Volkswagen allegedly making extortionate claims, and Porsche considering selling 49% of its car business to Wolfsburg, several German business papers are reporting that Wiedeking is eying the exit. Automotive News reports that a writer at the Financial Times Deutschland went so far as to report that the CEO had hired attorneys to advise him. The scenarios presented in case of an exit suggest that an interim CEO will take over until a successor is named.
The head of Porsche's labor union, though, said that the reports aren't true, and Wiedeking "is doing his job and will continue to do his job." What's more, he said that the Porsche and Piech families have not agreed to join the companies, that no decision will be made without discussions with Porsche's supervisory board, and that the 49% share that VW might take in Porsche is worth double the amount being offered. As with so many family sagas, this one is a long way from being over.
[Source: Automotive News, sub req'd | Image: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty]