Volkswagen denies Piech to resign as chairman [Daily Tribune (Bahrain)]
(Daily Tribune (Bahrain) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ? ? Volkswagen AG has denied its chairman Ferdinand Piech plans to step down in coming months, rebutting a newspaper report that he would depart for health reasons to make way for Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn. The Wolfsburg-based group, known for its top-selling Golf model, rebuffed a report in business daily Handelsblatt, saying 76-year-old Piech was in the best of health and would continue to run VW's supervisory board for a long time. Piech, whose contract was renewed for five years in 2012, was quoted by Spiegel magazine yesterday as saying: "Those who are declared dead live longer". But that may not dampen speculation about how VW will cope after Piech, a brilliant tactician who has run the firm for 20 years, first as chief executive then as chairman since 2002. The report comes ahead of the Frankfurt auto show, where Europe's No. 1 automaker will hope attention will be focused on the models it is showing, such as its first batterypowered cars, the Up subcompact and a battery-driven version of the Golf hatchback. BIGGEST VICTORY During Piech's time in charge, Volkswagen has been transformed into the world's third-largest carmaker and has grown through the purchase of luxury names such as Bentley and Lamborghini. Its reach has expanded globally and engineering costs have been cut across all its brands through a "platform" strategy under which a number of modals can be built on the same chassis. Speculation about Piech's future at the helm of the VW board had flared up in April 2012, when shareholders granted him a third term. If he serves this out, the balding Austrian would become the oldest-ever chairman of a listed German company. Volkswagen's supervisory board meets at the end of this month, a person familiar with the matter said on condition he not be identified because the meeting is confidential. VW shares were little changed, trading 0.4 per cent higher at 172.35 euros by 1214 GMT while the bluechip DAX index was flat. ? ?
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