Volkswagen Group senior managers have nominated the automaker’s current CFO, Austrian Hans Dieter Pötsch, to become the new chairman of the overarching supervisory board that represents the shareholders, a position left vacant after the shock resignation of longstanding chairman Ferdinand Piech in April.
Pötsch, 64, was originally nominated by the supervisory board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE, the primary shareholder of VW, and together with the support of VW’s own supervisory board Pötsch’s promotion to chairman is all but guaranteed. The final signing in is expected to take place at a scheduled meeting in November.
“We are confident that Pötsch is the right candidate for the position of chairman of the supervisory board,” deputy chairman of the supervisory board, Berthold Huber, said in a statement. “Mr Pötsch is characterised by strategic vision, comprehensive knowledge of the automotive industry and considerable expertise in the financial markets.”
The announcement comes just days after VW confirmed that current CEO Martin Winterkorn has had his contract extended until the end of 2018. Winterkorn, 68, was tipped to be one of the key people in the running for the position of chairman.
“Together with professor Martin Winterkorn at the helm we will continue on our successful path of recent years and systematically implement the goals of Strategy 2018,” Huber's statement continued.
Pötsch has been CFO at VW since 2003 and has worked closely with Winterkorn over the years, but with his financial background we wonder if we’ll continue to see vanity projects like the Bugatti Veyron and Volkswagen Phaeton that were spearheaded by former chairman Piech. Already we’ve heard that the next-generation Phaeton has been delayed again as VW seeks to further reduce production costs.
On the flipside, with sales in the key market of China cooling, it may be an appropriate time for a figure with sound financial sense to be in charge. A new CFO to replace Pötsch will be announced at a later date.
In related news, VW’s supervisory board has confirmed that 57-year-old Louise Kiesling, a Piech niece, remain on the board. Another of Piech’s nieces, 34-year-old Julia Kuhn-Piech, will step down to make way for Pötsch. Both Kiesling and Kuhn-Piech were named as members in May.