Ferdinand Piëch, at the origin of the emergence of Volkswagen, disappears at the age of 82

Former chairman of Volkswagen, Ferdinand Piëch, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, passed away Sunday, August 25, in a hospital in Bavaria, after having made a mala

Ferdinand Piëch, at the origin of the emergence of Volkswagen, disappears at the age of 82

Former chairman of Volkswagen, Ferdinand Piëch, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, passed away Sunday, August 25, in a hospital in Bavaria, after having made a malaise in a restaurant. He was 82 years old. It was one of the last monstres sacrés of the global automotive industry. And it was at the origin of the great emergence of Volkswagen as the first global automotive brand.

His engineering degree in his pocket, Ferdinand Piëch was entered at Porsche, the company founded by his grandfather, at the age of 26. Less than ten years later, in 1972, he decides to leave the company, convinced that he is not "part of the right branch of the family." It incorporates Audi, a subsidiary of Volkswagen. This will be his first deed of arms. Initially responsible for the technical development, he was appointed to the executive board of the mark, in 1975, and then directs it between 1988 and 1992. It transforms the Audi into a credible competitor to Mercedes and BMW, in the premium segment.

competitiveness Agreements with the unions

Its success is such that he is called to take the presidency of the Volkswagen group, so in difficulty, in 1993. Renowned for his intransigence, it replaces almost all of the direction of the German brand, reduces costs through competitiveness agreements with the German trade unions, put in place a strategy common platform. Volkswagen returns in the green.

Ferdinand Piëch, passionate about cars, is pleased with the acquisitions of mythical brands Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini. In 2002, at age 65, he left the operational management of the company, to be appointed chairman of the supervisory board. A place, where he, however, retains wide powers.

Bisbilles family and offends Porsche

In 2007, he faced the offensive of Porsche, chaired by his cousin, Wolfgang Porsche, and largest shareholder of Volkswagen with 30% of the capital. The sports car manufacturer is heavily in debt to take control of Volkswagen. With the support of Martin Winterkorn, he has just appointed to the presidency of the executive board of Volkswagen, Ferdinand Piëch made to fail the operation. Better: it manages to take control of Porsche, making Volkswagen a giant inescapable on a global scale, when the builder was a european player in the early 90's.

Renowned for its requirement and its hardness, the officer will have spent several dolphins. But he will try to land one too. In April 2015, he wants to replace Martin Winterkorn, still president of the management board. The council of Volkswagen voting against the advice of Ferdinand Piëch, who decides to resign from his position chairman of the supervisory board.

A departure that allows him to do almost not be worried when scandal "dieselgate", which broke out a little over a year later. And that will cost more than 30 billion euros to Volkswagen. Some felt, however, that Ferdinand Piëch was largely at the origin of the culture of secrecy and fear, that has allowed this scandal to develop.

Updated Date: 28 August 2019, 00:00

Kathleen Lees

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