Volkswagen Group Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder can't find relief - despite some signs his company is turning the corner.
European sales are higher, and a restructured VW Group has gained 0.8 percentage point of market share, the largest increase of all manufacturers in Europe this year. In addition, profits are up and VW has made progress working with its German labor unions.
But with four months to go until his contract comes up for renegotiation, Pischetsrieder is plagued by other problems.
Allegations of corporate corruption and sex scandals, combined with delayed launches and boardroom politics, are clouding VW's progress, especially in its home market. Deep personnel cuts are next.
Last week, Bernd Osterloh, chairman of VW's Works Council, warned employees in a VW newsletter that layoffs will be dramatic. "We will be talking about more employees than you could imagine," Osterloh said.
As VW enters the final month of a tumultuous year, there is plenty on Pischetsrieder's agenda:
These four events - all of them surfacing in the past month - have detracted from VW's ambitious $3.52 billion, two-year restructuring plan, which has raised revenues and profits. Through nine months, VW net profit tripled to $330.6 million, from $89.1 million last year. Revenue rose 13 percent compared with the year before.
As Pischetsrieder prepares for 2006, he needs to continue that momentum. Here are the top five tasks on Pischetsrieder's agenda in the coming year: