Paving the Way for VW Takeover Porsche CEO Wiedeking Resigns
Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking, who became one of Germany's highest-paid executives after turned the company around in the 1990s, has resigned. He fell from grace after a bungled attempted takeover of Volkswagen which brought Porsche to the brink of bankruptcy.
It's the end of an era at the luxury sports carmaker Porsche. The once-mighty Wendelin Wiedeking is stepping down as CEO of Porsche AG.
Wendelin Wiedeking, seen here in a 2008 file photo, has resigned as CEO of Porsche.
Wiedeking turned the luxury Stuttgart-based carmaker around in the 1990s and made it immensely profitable. However the tough-talking CEO's star fell after his bungled attempted takeover of the much larger carmaker Volkswagen, which brought Porsche to the brink of bankruptcy and left it with around 10 billion ($14 billion) in debt. Härter was the architect of the complex financial wizardry behind the Volkswagen takeover bid.
Porsche said in a statement that Wiedeking will receive a severance package of 50 million. Wiedeking, whose contract was to run until 2012, said in a personal statement that half of that money will go to a social foundation. Previous media reports had speculated that Wiedeking, who was one of Germany's best-paid executives, could receive a record golden handshake of up to 250 million. Härter will receive 12.5 million.
Graphic: Porsche's ownership structure
The Porsche supervisory board met late on Wednesday evening for a surprise session to discuss the future of the embattled company. The board agreed to seek a capital increase of at least 5 billion, a spokesman said. The board also pledged its support for talks with a Qatar investment fund, agreeing to give the go-ahead for Porsche to sign a deal with the Qatar fund. Negotiations with Qatar, which were Wiedeking's brainchild, have been ongoing. A company spokesman was unable to say if the capital increase would definitely come from Qatar or if additional investors would be involved.
Graphic: The Porsche clan
A decision is expected during the Volkswagen supervisory board meeting on Thursday afternoon. Observers speaking on Thursday morning said a VW takeover of Porsche AG was practically certain.
dgs -- with wire reports