As you may recall, the chairmanship of the Volkswagen board fell until recently to Ferdinand Piëch, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche and one of the principals of the Porsche family that holds over 50 percent ownership in Volkswagen through Porsche Automobil Holding SE. Piëch went head to head with VW CEO Martin Winterkorn and ultimately lost. Piëch resigned and Winterkorn is about to have his term as chief executive extended through the end of 2018. In Piëch's place, former union head Berthold Huber was named as interim chairman, but is now referred to in the statement below once again as deputy chairman instead.
An Austrian native, Pötsch is an industrial engineer by training. He started his career at BMW where he ultimately served as group controller, and subsequently served as CFO and as chairman at a number of German corporations. Pötsch joined the VW management board in 2003, initially without portfolio, and soon assumed the financial portfolio – a role he has held until now.
In 2009 he took on the additional role of chief financial officer at the Porsche holding company, whose supervisory board representatives are the parties proposing Pötsch's nomination as the group's new chairman – even though he is not, strictly speaking, one of their own. In a related development, it appears that Julia Kuhn-Piëch will be leaving her board seat sooner than expected. The departing chairman Ferdinand Piëch opposed his niece's nomination to the board in his place, and now she'll apparently be stepping down to make way for the family's new choice of chairman.
Hans Dieter Pötsch nominated for appointment as new Chairman of Supervisory Board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft
The Executive and Nomination Committees of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG decided in a meeting today to support the proposal made by the shareholder representatives of the Supervisory Board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE that Mr Hans Dieter Pötsch be elected to the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG at an Extraordinary General Meeting of Volkswagen in November this year. "We are confident that Pötsch is the right candidate for the position of Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Mr Pötsch is characterised by strategic vision, comprehensive knowledge of the automotive industry and considerable expertise in the financial markets", said the Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Berthold Huber.
At the request of the shareholder representatives, the Supervisory Board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE will now adopt a resolution regarding the proposal that Mr Pötsch be elected to the Supervisory Board during an Extraordinary General Meeting in November. As soon as this formal resolution has been received by the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG will decide on the date of the Extraordinary General Meeting and the termination of Mr Pötsch's term of office on the Board of Management to coincide with his election to the Supervisory Board.
The Executive Committee and the Nomination Committee also decided today to propose that not only Mr Pötsch but also Dr Louise Kiesling be elected to the Supervisory Board by the Extraordinary General Meeting. "Dr Kiesling has the full support of the Executive Committee", Berthold Huber affirmed. Dr Kiesling is currently a member of the Supervisory Board by virtue of a court appointment. An election must therefore be conducted at the General Meeting following this court appointment.
The Executive Committee thanked Ms Julia Kuhn-Piëch for her contribution to the Supervisory Board. "In the interest of the Group, we will continue to avail of Ms Kuhn- Piëch's valuable expertise," commented Professor Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG.
The Supervisory Board will decide on a successor for Mr Pötsch without delay. "The Executive Committee will begin deliberations on a possible successor immediately. It is important that we reach an informed decision, in which the entire Supervisory Board is involved. When deciding on a successor, we will act with the diligence required, particularly in view of the fact that Mr Pötsch will continue to perform his duties with his usual commitment until November. The Supervisory Board will ensure the continued management of the Volkswagen Group and an appropriate transition to the successor."