There is plenty of speculation in the German press about what actually went on behind closed doors earlier this week to cause the shock resignation of Volkswagen CEO, Bernd Pischetsrieder. And there are lots of question marks.

Firstly there is broad agreement that Pischetsrieder was pushed by former group head, Ferdinand Piech, who retains an influential position as supervisory board head.

Pischetsrieder has led moves to restructure Volkswagen with measures including massive job cuts and longer working hours, especially in Germany. But his efforts have been opposed by interests within VW including labour unions and Piech.

Earlier this year the board was split over whether to renew his contract. The contract was renewed until 2012, after tough negotiations with worker representatives.

But earlier this week there were rumours that some board members were seeking a cross-shareholding with truck manufacturer MAN. Reuters reported that the German state of Lower Saxony favours a cross-shareholding between MAN and Volkswagen to reduce Porsche’s influence at Volkswagen. Handelsblatt reported on Thursday (9 November) that such a move had been supported by Pischetsrieder, and that is the reason for the shock resignation.

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Martin Winterkorn, currently head of Audi and considered to be a close ally of Ferdinand Piech, will reportedly take over as head of Volkswagen Group. His successor has not been named but Automobilwoche on Wednesday said that there are two internal candidates for the job: head of production, Jochem Heizmann, and finance director, Rupert Stadler.

Also unclear is the future of Volkswagen brand boss, Wolfgang Bernhard. A former McKinsey consultant and Chrysler executive, he was brought in by Pischetsrieder and has been heavily involved in the recent restructuring opposed by Piech.

Finally there has been no comment on whether Pischetsrieder will continue as chairman of the board of Scania.

Pischetsrieder’s departure will be confirmed at the next supervisory board meeting on 17 November. It appears that many of these questions will also be answered then.