WOLFSBURG, Germany -- Volkswagen's supervisory board will meet on Monday to discuss Porsche's 18.5 percent VW stake buy in a "German solution" to guard Europe's biggest carmaker from takeover.
VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech's control over the board appeared stronger after comments from one of his reported opponents signalling there would be no attempt at Monday's meeting to oust him on grounds of conflict of interest.
In the days leading up to the board meeting Piech has come under fire because he is both part-owner of Porsche -- the car maker founded by his grandfather -- and Porsche Holding, an importer that does business with Volkswagen.
There had been media reports of a coup to replace him as chairman with VW and Siemens board member Heinrich von Pierer.
Lower Saxony Premier Christian Wulff, one of the state's two members on the board, told reporters before the meeting that no formal action would be taken against Piech.
"I do not expect any vote," Wulff said in Wolfsburg, when asked whether the board would vote on staff or other issues.
Piech's position at Volkswagen has already been weakened over the summer by the resignation under a cloud of Peter Hartz, one of the few remaining management board members to have served under Piech.
Hartz is under investigation for possible misappropriation of company funds to win favor with worker leaders.
Porsche is in the process of building an 18.5 percent stake in the German carmaker, which it described as a defensive move to ensure stable ties with a company that supplies parts for almost a third of the cars Porsche makes.
Piech has played down any attempts to unseat him and told German magazine Der Spiegel over the weekend that he planned to stay on as board chairman until 2007, when his term expires.
Not only does his vote count twice as chairman, but all 10 supervisory board members that represent the interests of VW employees are expected to back Piech, giving him majority control of the board in any power struggle.
"The employees' side has absolutely no cause to support a coup," Juergen Peters, VW deputy chairman and the head of trade union IG Metall, told Reuters last week. "We're not interested."
Juergen Kurz, a spokesman with the German shareholder rights group DSW, said he did not believe that he had favored Porsche at VW's expense.
"This conflict of interest is not optimal under corporate governance standpoints, but it is not new and nor is it necessary for him to resign as chairman," Kurz said.
"What's critical is that he represents the interest of all shareholders and not just one and that should a conflict of interest emerge, Piech would reveal this and act then in a neutral manner," he continued.