The MAN board has given chief executive Hakan Samuelsson its full backing, following weekend media speculation that Volkswagen would seek his removal, when its representatives take seats on the MAN board at the next annual general meeting.

According to dpa-AFX news, head of the workers council and supervisory board vice chairman, Lothar Pohlmann, said “the supervisory board stands full behind Hakan Samuelsson. From our point of view Samuelsson is still the right man.”

Volkswagen reportedly sees Samuelsson as a ‘barrier’ to a merger between MAN and Scania taking place. There are reports that some people consider that MAN’s proposed takeover of Scania is part of a personal vendetta on the part of Samuelsson against Scania chief executive Leif Östling.

Volkswagen acquired a 15% stake in MAN last year, after MAN launched a bid to take over Scania, in which Volkswagen is the largest shareholder. Volkswagen has wanted a greater presence in the global heavy truck industry for some time and the proposed merger of MAN and Scania was seen as an opportunity for Volkswagen to do just that.

MAN’s proposed acquisition of Scania has not won the approval of shareholders, but Scania’s largest shareholders, the Wallenburg family and Volkswagen Group, are in favour of a merger in principle, and are trying to find a way for it to proceed.