The battle in Volkswagen's boardroom is over. Or is it?
Ferdinand Piech, VW's supervisory board chairman and former chief executive, will bow out next year when his term expires. Piech's family controls Porsche AG, which last year acquired 20 percent of Volkswagen and became VW's largest shareholder. Piech was under pressure to quit the board by critics who saw a conflict of interest.
But Piech and his family get something in return. Porsche AG CEO Wendelin Wiedeking will join the board, effective immediately. And Porsche finance chief Holger Haerter will seek a seat on the supervisory board during VW's annual meeting May 3.
It's all incredibly intermingled. Piech's grandfather, Ferdinand Porsche, developed the Beetle for Hitler. His father, Anton Piech, ran the VW factory during World War II. His uncle, Ferry Porsche, formed the Porsche sports car company after the war; and his mother, Louise Piech - Ferdinand Porsche's daughter - built the family's Austrian car distribution firm, Porsche Holding. The sports car and distribution companies are the source of the family's great wealth.
Piech's departure after more than 30 years with Volkswagen is symbolic. He has been a dominant figure in Wolfsburg, Germany, for decades. He joined VW's Audi-NSU division in 1972, eventually ran Audi and then got the top job at Volkswagen in 1993.
He retired as VW's chief executive in 2002 and became head of the supervisory board.
But as his family's leading light, Piech, 68, is expected to continue to wield influence at Volkswagen - maybe even more than he does now. Think of him as VW's Kirk Kerkorian and Wiedeking and Haerter as his Jerry Yorks.