Blog: VW scandal
Dave Leggett | 2 May 2006
As Volkswagen shareholders gather in Hamburg for the annual get-together, it's perhaps interesting to reflect on the status these days of a company that is so important in Germany. Not all is rosy in the garden. There's an unseemly scrap behind the scenes concerning CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder's contract which is in many ways a scrap over the future direction of the company: does it stay more or less as it is with its corporate head in the sand, attendant institutional murkiness and a general lack of transparency, or does it make some sort of leap towards genuine modernisation, starting with a serious attempt to get to grips with excessive costs in its heartland?
Piech is rather mischeviously siding with the Luddites and those who favour the continued subsidy of overpaid German jobs. But then, it can be argued, when did Piech (a marvellous engineer and technocrat, undisputed) ever put the interests of shareholders - besides the Lower-Saxony job-creationists that is - high on his list of priorities? Need I even mention the money drain and market flop that was the Phaeton? The shareholders want some reform, at least. Wolfie is in the wings.
If you wonder about the culture at the top within Volkswagen, below is a link to an article that, at the least, suggests that something has been going wrong institutionally inside VW Group for some time now. Nice summary from the Sunday Times of what was a jaw-dropping scandal played out in some detail in the German media.
Earlier this week, the supervisory board of VW reappointed Bernd Pischetsrieder as chief executive for another five years. His supervisory board chairman, Ferdinand Piech, was therefore defeated....
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