Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking is leaving his position at the helm of Germany’s most renowned sports car maker and he isn’t leaving voluntarily. Wiedeking was sacked by the Porsche’s executive board late yesterday so that the company could move forward with a “merger” with Germany’s largest automaker, Volkswagen. The now former CEO opposed the deal and so has been removed, along with the company’s chief financial officer Holger Haerter.
The reality is that the merger is anything but and that with Wiedeking gone Volkswagen will now look to add Porsche as one of its many brands (10 in total) that include such names as Bentley and Lamborghini.
Wiedeking has run Porsche for the past 16 years and can be credited for saving it with the introduction of the Cayenne SUV. In fact, he took it from the brink of bankruptcy to being the world’s most profitable automaker. For that he will be well rewarded with a $71 million severance.
Unfortunately Wiedeking’s ambition became his own downfall as he attempted a takeover of Volkswagen, a company 16 times Porsche’s size. The move might have worked too, were it not for the crumbling worldwide economy, which slowed the company’s cash flow and made the enormous amount of debt wracked up in the attempted VW takeover too much to bear.
Volkswagen has reportedly offered to buy Porsche outright but wants it to fix its finances first. That plan may already be in the works as Porsche has also announced it will raise $7 billion in equity from Qatar Holding LLC.
Volkswagen’s board of management will reportedly meet today to decide on further action.
Porsche’s executive position has fallen to production boss Michael Macht.