Economy & Politics

Crashing defeat for the VW boss

VW boss Herbert Diess has once again had to recognize that the works council is more powerful than the chairman of the board. Photo: dpa / Christophe Gateau


The leadership crisis at VW is over for the time being, but the Christmas peace in Wolfsburg will not last long, says Harry Pretzlaff.

Stuttgart – VW boss Herbert Diess has once again got a bloody nose in the power struggle with works council boss Bernd Osterloh. The works council chairman emerges from the ring as the clear winner. Herbert Diess, the champion for more efficiency and flexibility at the largest car manufacturer in the world, demanded an early contract extension from the owners as a clear signal that they would back him up. He did not achieve this goal. Instead, there were just a few warm words from the board members for Diess. The CEO has clearly gambled away. The Porsches and Piëchs hold the majority of the shares and thus actually have the say. VW’s special corporate constitution, however, gives the works council an unusually strong position from the outset, and in alliance with major shareholder Lower Saxony, which is also very keen to defend employment and unusually lush social assets in the German plants, the employee representatives are unbeatable. Works council boss Osterloh made it clear early on that he was against the early extension of the contract.

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