FRANKFURT (Reuters) -- A report commissioned by Volkswagen suggests Ferdinand Piech should step down as supervisory board chairman, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, but he added this may not be the final word.
The study by investment bank JP Morgan also found that representatives of Porsche, the sports carmaker that has emerged as VW's biggest shareholder, should not sit on VW's board, to avoid potential conflicts of interest, the source said, confirming media reports.
"This is not wrong, but it is hard to say that this is the full truth," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "The picture may become richer. There may be more pieces of the puzzle to come."
Citing the legal advice it had received, Porsche stuck to its position that it deserved seats on VW's board.
"Porsche will seek representation on the Volkswagen AG board in accordance with its stake," a company spokesman said, adding he was unsure on what legal basis JP Morgan based its opinion.
At issue is whether Porsche's role as a major VW investor with around a fifth of the voting rights in Europe's biggest carmaker presents unacceptable influence over a company that is also its business partner and competitor.
Piech's family and the Porsche clan own all the voting rights to Porsche, on whose supervisory board Piech also sits.
The source said a contract being drawn up by VW and Porsche to spell out their business ties could resolve conflict issues and noted it was up to shareholders to elect VW board members.
Volkswagen declined to comment.
VW Chief Executive Bernd Pischetsrieder told analysts on Tuesday that VW would remain independent from Porsche and would reserve the right to enter into partnerships with other carmakers such as DaimlerChrysler.
To assuage fears of potential conflicts of interest with Porsche on its supervisory board, VW's chief executive said the carmaker planned to introduce a new subcommittee to ensure that corporate governance standards were enforced.