Porsche and Piech families seek driver’s seat at Volkswagen – sources

Volkswagen Group electric car models Volkswagen ID.3, Seat Cupra Born, Volkswagen ID.4, Audi Q4 e-tron, Volkswagen ID.5 GTX and Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron are parked in front of the Volkswagen production plant , in Zwickau , Germany, April 26, 2022. REUTERS/Matthias Rietschel/File Photo

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HAMBURG, Aug 8 (Reuters) – Volkswagen’s majority shareholder families are aiming to keep Europe’s biggest carmaker on a shorter leash and want more of a say on strategic issues in what marks a power play ahead of the planned Porsche listing, say people familiar with the matter.

The Porsche and Piech families, who control the Porsche SE holding company (PSHG_p.DE) – which owns most of Volkswagen’s voting rights – hope to lead the group back to calmer waters after a turbulent period under outgoing CEO Herbert Diess, have they added.

“They want to monitor the implementation of the strategic directions more closely,” a person with knowledge of the families’ thinking told Reuters.

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Under Diess, Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) has taken important steps towards electrification, but its outspoken style has provoked opposition within the company that has sometimes overshadowed its achievements, testing the patience of families, the sources said.

As a result, they plan to run a narrower ship.

“Families are actively involved – a capacity they have long been deemed incapable of,” a second source said.

The biggest influence has already been reflected in the appointment of Oliver Blume as Volkswagen’s next CEO, a move that has drawn fire from several investors as he will also remain the boss of Porsche AG – even after an IPO. planned. Read more

Touted as the “preferred candidate” of the Porsche and Piech clan, Blume is set to push through the long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) of Porsche AG, the eponymous automaker he has run since 2015, the people have said.

Porsche SE and Volkswagen declined to comment.

The IPO is key for the families as they would once again become a direct shareholder of Porsche AG after the maker of the iconic 911 model was taken over by Volkswagen in 2009, following a failed attempt by Porsche AG to buy Volkswagen in place. Read more

“The structure of the IPO primarily responds to families’ interest in further strengthening their grip on Porsche, and they will not be deterred from this plan,” said Hendrik Schmidt, corporate governance expert at DWS ( DWSG.DE), which owns shares in Volkswagen and Porsche SE.

The agreed structure of the IPO, which remains to be confirmed, would give the Porsche and Piech families a blocking minority in the sports car brand founded by their ancestor Ferdinand Porsche in 1931.

Manuel Theisen, a retired professor of business administration at the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich and a specialist in corporate governance, said it was a way to claw back some of the influence of families.

“The main reason is power.”

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Additional reporting by Christoph Steitz Editing by Mark Potter

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