Ferdinand Piëch To Sell His Shares Of Porsche SE

The former head of Volkswagen AG is selling his stake in the company founder by his grandfather, Ferdinand Porsche.

byGabriel Loewenberg|
Ferdinand Piëch To Sell His Shares Of Porsche SE

Reuters reports that Ferdinand Piëch, the divisive and innovative former head of Volkswagen AG, is selling his 14.7% stake of Porsch SE. Piëch, the grandson of Porsche founder Ferdinand Porsche, has often been at odds with the other members of the Porsche family. This sale would completely remove him from the company. Piëch's 14.7% ownership of the company is currently valued at about $1.2 billion. The Porsche family has first rights to the sale and negotiations are on going.

Piëch's long and storied career at Porsche, Audi, and Volkswagen is legendary. He made bold and risky moves that paid off. Through direct involvement or while heading VAG, Piëch has been responsible for some of the most incredible cars brought to market or raced in the last 60 or years. He got his start working on the original Porsche 911. Several years later, at untold costs to the company, he co-created the Le Mans dominating 917. The expense of developing the 917 cost him his job at Porsche, so he joined forces with Audi. While there, he gave the world the Audi Quattro and Audi 5000, among other things.

By 1993, Piëch was Chairman of the Board of Management at Volkswagen AG. He held the post until 2002 and then became Chairman of the Supervisory Board. Some criticized his management style as harsh and non-inclusive, but it worked. While at the helm, he saved Volkswagen from bankruptcy. He fought off a take-over from his family at Porsche, with VAG eventually merging Porsche completely into the fold. Under the leadership of Piëch, the VW Beetle was revived. VAG bought up Bentley, Lamborghini, and Bugatti. At Piëch's insistence, the Veyron was created to be as over-the-top bonkers as it could be.

Piëch's exact involvement in and knowledge of Dieselgate is a murky subject. Ultimately, Piëch left the Supervisory Board just months before the scandal broke and former CEO Martin Winterkorn took the fall. Piëch, who turns 80 in just a few weeks, will be walking away from a body of automotive work like no other. Both revered and feared, the sale of his shares of Porsche SE will officially sever ties to his family's company.