There were complex questions that the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen, Hans Dieter Pötsch, had to clarify in the past few days.
The 70-year-old manager is very familiar with the company and has the trust of the Porsche and Piëch shareholder families, the best prerequisites for smoothing things over again and again when things go wrong in the company with its 670,000 employees around the world.
Most recently, a new dispute between CEO Herbert Diess on the one hand and the powerful works council and the state of Lower Saxony, which is part of the group, plunged the group into a management crisis on the other.
But currently it looks as if the quarreling parties are getting together again through Pötsch's mediation.
Business correspondent in Hamburg.
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The planning round of the supervisory board scheduled for Thursday, at which VW wants to tighten a series of resolutions on the composition of the board of directors, the investments in the next few years and the prospects for employment, will take place as planned, all those involved said on Tuesday in unison. That was anything but certain in the end. Because although the meeting had already been postponed from the original date in mid-November to the now targeted date, it was still not clear whether there would be enough time for an agreement - the situation was too complex after CEO Diess left the country and the works council with arithmetic games had upset about the loss of up to 35,000 jobs. Lower Saxony's Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD), works council chief Daniela Cavallo and IG Metall boss Jörg Hofmann,all members of the supervisory board, would have loved to chased Diess off the farm.
A woman for IT
After days of crisis diplomacy, first and foremost by Pötsch, once VW's CFO and currently head of the Porsche SE family holding company, it is now becoming apparent that Diess can remain at the top of the group.
The final decision has not yet been made, but everything points in this direction, confirmed several informed people on Tuesday.
However, he will probably have to give up responsibility, at least for the segment of the volume brands VW, Seat and Škoda, for which he is currently responsible on the board. VW brand boss Ralf Brandstätter, who is to move up to the board, will probably take over here, also at the urging of the employees, who trust Brandstätter, who is popular among employees. At first it was still unclear what would happen to the management of the important business in China, which at board level is also in the hands of Diess. It has long been suspected that the governor in the People's Republic, Stephan Wöllenstein, will return to Germany and be replaced.
Other personal details seem to be largely established.
For example, the previous chief legal advisor, Manfred Döss, is to rise to the top management ranks of VW and take over the position of Hiltrud Werner, previously responsible for the integrity and legal department.
Hauke Stars, most recently in the management of Deutsche Börse, is to become IT director, which means that VW literally kills two birds with one stone.
Stars is considered to be very competent, and the new management positions law will soon impose a requirement that corporations with more than three board members must have at least one woman in their top management.
With the departure of Werner, so far the only woman on the VW board, that would no longer be guaranteed.
No double tongs for Diess
For the employee side, the Brandstätter personnel should be particularly important. The works council sees the rise of the VW brand boss as a guarantee that the sometimes rough and impulsive Diess will no longer be the decisive person at important switching points. Döss, who has proven himself above all in dealing with the diesel scandal, enjoys a high reputation, especially on the part of the families. It is quite conceivable that he too will keep an eye on Diess, of course in the spirit of the Porsches and Piëchs, who appreciate the CEO's fundamental course in the direction of transformation and e-mobility, but are concerned about his constant power struggles with the employee bank.
The fact that Diess will henceforth be enclosed by a kind of double tong by Döss and Brandstätter was far too short, according to corporate circles.
This is far too self-confident, and Döss will not allow himself to be committed to a role as a guardian for the VW boss.Keywords: