Late last month, Ferdinand Piech resigned from his position as chairman of Volkswagen's supervisory board.
Reportedly he was given the choice of resigning or being dismissed by the board. While publicly giving support to the current head of the VW management board, he was at the same time maneuvering to put another VW executive in charge.
For the first time in more than half a century, Piech is out of work -- for the moment.
As the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, Piech has had a rather illustrious and controversial career. He started at Porsche, but family members clashed so much that Piech's uncle, Ferry Porsche, cast them out of the company. Piech resumed his career at Audi.
I have nothing but instinct to go on, but I cannot fathom that Piech's career at VW, or somewhere else, has ended.
At 78, Piech is still filled with ideas. In his own rather ruthless manner, he has run VW with an iron hand for two decades, changing executives at whim. But until now, his decisions stuck, and executives have come and gone.
While the global auto industry shed brands and consolidated operations, VW kept adding car companies to its portfolio and has more brands than just about any automaker.
Piech lately had been pushing for his wife to succeed him as head of the supervisory board.
His own cousin, Wolfgang Porsche, once attempted to leverage the Porsche company to take over VW. He not only lost but saw Porsche become just one more brand in the VW arsenal.
And although the Porsche-Piech family collectively owns controlling interest in VW, other family members did not support Piech in his latest coup. They are family, but that doesn't mean they are allies.
It always seemed that Piech would, as Americans say, die with his boots on. No one expected him to fail at his latest endeavor. But he is gone from VW, having officially resigned under threat of termination.
What happens next in this German automotive soap opera is anyone's guess. But after the last half century, nothing would surprise me in the Porsche family saga.
I would bet we have not seen the last of Ferdinand Piech.