Hans Dieter Pötsch

VW CFO Set to Become Chairman

The two protagonists on the sided: Ferdinand Piëch, left, and VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, right. Hans Dieter Pötsch, center, is set become the new VW chairman. Source: DPA
Ferdinand Piëch, left, a major Volkswagen shareholder and its former CEO and chairman, and the former CEO Martin Winterkorn, right, with Hans Dieter Pötsch, the chairman of VW's non-executive supervisory board, during happier days in 2015.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The nomination of a new chairman at Volkswagen will return stability at the world’s largest carmaker at a time of turmoil in China and other markets.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The Porsche and Piëch families control 50.7 percent of VW through their holding Porsche SE.
    • In April, VW’s non-executive chairman Ferdinand Piëch resigned after losing a board battle with CEO Martin Winterkorn.
    • The supervisory board, which also includes worker representatives and the state of Lower Saxony, will vote on Hans Dieter Pötsche’s nomination in November.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Volkswagen, the world’s largest carmaker in the first half of 2015, is close to appointing its chief financial officer, Hans Dieter Pötsch, as non-executive chairman. The move should help ease a boardroom battle that led to the unexpected departure of VW patriarch Ferdinand Piëch in April.

The Piëch and Porsche families are heirs to Ferdinand Porsche, who designed the original Volkswagen Beetle. Together they control 50.7 percent of VW shares via their holding Porsche SE.

“The aim is to elect Hans Dieter Pötsch as chairman of Volkswagen’s supervisory board,” Porsche SE said in a statement. A German supervisory board oversees a company’s management, or executive, board and has the power to hire and fire senior staff.

If his nomination is confirmed in November at an extraordinary shareholder meeting, it will restore stability at the maker of VW, Audi, Porsche and Skoda cars, which has seen its biggest sales market, China, stagnate, and revenue fall in Brazil and Russia.

A spokesman said there was a “consensus among all shareholders of Porsche SE” on the appointment. The appointment must still be confirmed by VW’s shareholders and supervisory board in November.

Mr. Pötsch, who is currently both chief financial officer of VW and Porsche SE, has the confidence of the Porsche and Piëch families as he helped to reduce debts at Porsche SE after it failed to take full control of VW, people familiar with the matter told Handelsblatt.

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