The degree of influence (or lack thereof) deposed Chairman Ferdinand Piech has on Volkswagen continues to arouse interest.
A couple of weeks ago, we noted the successor to Piech's brainchild and hobby horse, the VW Phaeton luxury sedan, was delayed, probably getting a post-Piech rethink.
But the 78-year-old Piech, who ruled VW with an iron hand for nearly a quarter century, reportedly is flexing his muscles from exile.
Two well-sourced German publications, Spiegel and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, have reported that Piech prevented CEO Martin Winterkorn from fulfilling his ambition to become VW's supervisory board chairman.
The Porsche-Piech clan, which controls Volkswagen's 51 percent shareholder Porsche SE, had agreed to propose Winterkorn as chairman before Piech's intervention, the publications said.
Volkswagen announced that CFO Hans Dieter Poetsch -- a surprise choice -- would step into Piech's shoes as chairman, while Winterkorn's CEO contract was extended for two years.
In response to the reports, VW said its executive committee already had decided in April to extend Winterkorn's contract and called the rest "speculation."