Porsche CEO Wiedeking Steps Down, Board Approves Merger with VW
The well-publicized struggle between Porsche and Volkswagen may finally be winding down, now that Porsche’s board of directors has decided its CEO must step down.
According to Reuters, Wendelin Wiedeking–Porsche’s CEO for the last 16 years and the most well-paid executive in Germany–along with the company’s finance chief, Holger Haerter, agreed to step down immediately. Wiedeking and Haerter will receive severance packages of €50 million ($71.1 million) and €12.5 million ($7.8 million), respectively. Porsche’s head of production, Michael Macht, will succeed Wiedking as CEO.
Wiedeking had presided over an attempt to purchase a controlling stake in Volkswagen that left Porsche with massive amounts of debt that it has struggled to address. The takeover attempt opened the door for Volkswagen to attempt its own takeover of the sports car maker, which Wiedeking opposed.
With Wiedeking out of the picture, Volkswagen’s supervisory board has agreed to a plan to combine the two automakers. A Qatar investment fund will take over options from Porsche’s holding company, Porsche SE, which can be converted into Volkswagen shares, thereby giving it a 17 percent stake in VW. Qatar will also give Porsche a €750 million (almost $1.07 billion) loan.
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn said the details of the merger would be ironed out in the next three weeks.