|Estimated value:||€37 billion|
|Country of origin:||Austria|
|Source of Wealth:||entrepreneur|
Ferdinand Karl Piëch (born April 17, 1937, Vienna – August 25, 2019, Rosenheim, Germany) – Austro-German automobile manufacturer; Entrepreneur, designer, manager and majority shareholder. Chairman of the Supervisory Boards of Volkswagen AG (2002-2015) and MAN (2007-2015). A member of the Porsche automobile dynasty (direct grandson of dynasty founder Ferdinand Porsche) – had Austrian citizenship.
He was the third child in the family of lawyer Anton Piëch (1894-1952) and his wife Louise Porsche (1904-1999). His father managed the Volkswagen works in Wolfsburg during World War II. Mother was the daughter of a well-known car designer and entrepreneur Ferdinand Porsche. Ferdinand Piëch therefore refers to the “female” branch of the descendants of one of the pioneers of the auto industry.
In 1962 he graduated from the Technical University in Zurich, the thesis was dedicated to the design of the engines of Formula 1 cars; Piëch holds an honoris causa doctorate in engineering.
Piëch’s undisputed business success includes the development of the Volkswagen Group, which he achieved thanks to his offensive strategy. In 2009 he signed a deal to merge Porsche and Volkswagen.
In 1963, Ferdinand got a job as an engineer at Porsche in Stuttgart with his uncle. He then became technical director. In 1968, Ferdinand directed two-thirds of the Porsche Group’s annual budget into the construction of 25 Porsche 917 motorsport vehicles designed under his supervision. This number was necessary to take part in the 24-hour race at Le Mans. The family was extremely dissatisfied with Ferdinand’s action on household alignment. If a car had broken down, the company would be on the verge of bankruptcy. However, the Porsche 917 was an absolute success and won the legendary car marathon.
In 1972, Ferdinand began working at Audi, where he climbed the career ladder while working there and became CEO. At that time, Audi produced mid-range cars. However, during his work, Ferdinand managed to transform the company into a premium automaker. He actively pursued a policy of introducing various technological innovations – the installation of 5-cylinder engines, quattro four-wheel drive systems, light aluminum body parts and other innovations. In 2011, Audi overtook Mercedes-Benz in global sales of premium vehicles for the first time in its history.
In 1993 Ferdinand took over the management of Volkswagen. At the time, the company was in bad shape, posting an unprecedented annual loss of over €1 billion. Ferdinand immediately decided to dismiss almost the entire leadership, while not reducing the ordinary workers. Due to continued work in different directions, in 2002 the company’s net profit amounted to 2.6 billion euros.
Overall, Volkswagen’s market value has increased 15-fold in 22 years. Under Piëch, Volkswagen entered the luxury car industry during his tenure (in 1998 the company acquired Bugatti, Bentley and Lamborghini). As of 2012, the concern controlled 12 brands, including manufacturers of trucks and buses, MAN, Scania, Ducati motorcycles and others.
Resignation from the Volkswagen Supervisory Board – Piëch has always been very demanding of its employees and this was also the reason for the dismissal of many of them. His next victim was his own candidate, Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the board. The reasons why Piëch turned down Winterkorn were not disclosed. However, Piëch underestimated his protégé. He managed to win the love and support of most employees, members of the supervisory board and even the Lower Saxony government in Wolfsburg – the capital of Volkswagen. On April 25, 2015, all five other members of the Supervisory Board voted against Piëch’s demand that Winterkorn be dismissed. Piëch and his wife Ursula resigned from the group’s supervisory board. The stock exchange reacted to Piëch’s departure by raising the share price of the group by 5%.
Since 1984, Ferdinand Piëch was married to Ursula Piëch (* 1956), a former governess of the family. The family has lived in Salzburg since 2002. They have three children together. In total, Piëch has twelve children from previous marriages and relationships. He liked Far Eastern culture and Japanese ethics and was an experienced sailor.
His main awards
2011 “Man of the Year” – according to the American magazine “Automobile Magazine”;
2011 – title “The most important manager since 1971” (“Manager Magazin”, Germany)
2002 – a medal by William Exner, fund of the same name (Austria);
1999 – “Automotive Managers of the 20th Century” (Global Automotive Elections Foundation, USA).
“I am at a distance from Winterkorn”
“Volkswagen was a cancer patient who had given up on himself.”
“I won’t guillotine until I’m sure who did it.”
“I am the chairman of the supervisory board of Volkswagen AG, I am not the savior of Porsche.”
“I was always of the opinion that one could live with the VW law.”
|Estimated value:||€37 billion|