Thursday, July 23, 2009

Top Porsche managers stand down!

Former CEO of German luxury carmaker Porsche Wendelin Wiedeking
Mr Wiedeking became Porsche chief executive in 1993

German luxury car maker Porsche has said chief executive Wendelin Wiedeking and financial director Holger Haerter have resigned "with immediate effect".

The news comes as the boards of Porsche and Volkswagen (VW) meet over competing plans for takeovers and new investors.

Earlier Porsche, which owns 51% of VW, said it would increase its capital by at least 5bn euros ($7.10bn; £4.3bn).

And Porsche's board endorsed negotiations for the sale of a stake to Qatar to bolster its balance sheet.

The statements came after an all-night meeting on the future of the company.

In a statement the Stuttgart-based carmaker said Mr Wiedeking - one of the top-paid executives in Germany - will get a leaving package worth 50m euros.

Half of that money will go to a "social foundation". Meanwhile Mr Haertner will get a payoff of 12.5m euros.

Mr Wiedeking will be replaced by Michael Macht, the management board member responsible for production, and personnel chief Thomas Edig will serve as his deputy.

"Wiedeking and Haerter came to the conclusion in the last week that the further strategic development of [parent firm] Porsche SE and Porsche AG would be better when they were no longer the responsible people on the board," the statement said.

Porsche would not say if the 5bn euros capital increase would come from Qatar.

There has been talk of a possible takeover of Porsche by Volkswagen, and the boards of the two firms are holding separate meetings on Thursday.

Mr Wiedeking, 56, joined Porsche in 1983. He left in 1988 but returned to Porsche in 1991 and became chief executive in 1993.

In June Porsche said demand for its cars was hit by the worldwide recession.

Global sales at the German carmaker declined 28% to 53,635 vehicles between August 2008 and the end of April, compared with a year earlier.

Mr Wiedeking was credited with turning around the automaker in the 1990s but it now has some 9bn in debt following his attempts to acquire more shares in Volkswagen.




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