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FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Ferdinand Karl Piech, Volkswagen AG’s (VOWG_p.DE) above administrator and arch executive, who adapted the German aggregation from a disturbing midsized carmaker into a all-around automotive powerhouse, has died, his wife said in a statement.
Piech, 82, who had 13 accouchement by four altered women, died aback on Sunday, his wife Ursula said.
A ablaze engineer, Piech angry about VW afterwards action on a modular architecture address which accustomed Audi, Skoda and VW brands to allotment up to 65% accepted parts, allowance Volkswagen Group, the world’s better carmaker by sales, to attain greater economies of scale.
“The activity of Ferdinand Piech was shaped by his affection for automobiles and for the advisers that actualize them. He remained an enthusiast artist and car lover until the end,” Ursula Piech said in the statement.
Under Piech’s leadership, VW emphasised engineering accuracy advanced of profits, and went on an amplification spree, accepting high-margin affluence marques Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini in a distinct year.
“First and foremost I consistently saw myself as a artefact person, and relied on gut aptitude for bazaar demand. Business and backroom never absent me from the amount of our mission: to advance and accomplish adorable cars,” Piech wrote in his autobiography.
For his absolute career Piech took huge risks as a way to concealment his grandfather, Ferdinand Porsche, the ancestor of the iconic Volkswagen Beetle as able-bodied as the artist of the sportscar artist which still bears his name.
While alive as a 31-year-old development arch at Porsche in 1968, Piech invested two thirds of Porsche’s anniversary account to body 25 Porsche ancestor racecars with an abstinent 600 application air-cooled 12-cylinder agent design.
Family associates accused Piech of delinquency due to his accident appetence and alertness to bet the company’s account on a distinct vehicle, but the Porsche 917 went on to become one of the best acknowledged racecars in history, cementing his cachet as a abstracted engineer.
During his nine-year administration as CEO, Piech angry a accident agnate of 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) into a 2.6 billion euro accumulation while spearheading VW’s’ amplification into a 12-brand authority that includes the Seat, Skoda, Bentley, Audi, Porsche and Ducati brands in accession to the MAN and Scania barter businesses.
Herbert Diess, Volkswagen’s Arch Controlling declared Piech as a brave, forceful, and technically ablaze leader.
“Most of all Ferdinand Piech brought accomplishment and absorption to detail to automotive assembly and into Volkswagen’s DNA,” Diess said.
Piech was accepted for his adeptness to outmanoeuvre competitors by stoking centralized rivalries to his own advantage, alike if it resulted in abetment labour leaders to the damage of his own managers.
The angrier he got, the calmer he spoke, uttering alone abbreviate advised answers which appear alone a atom of his plan.
“It is not accessible to booty a aggregation to the top by absorption on the accomplished akin of harmony,” Piech said in his book.
Some of Piech’s top lieutenants were prosecuted for accepting abutment for restructuring affairs by allotment abundant business trips and brothel visits for the company’s labour leaders, who had the adeptness to block the changes.
“I bethink Ferdinand Piech as a abundant administrator and engineer,” Volkswagen’s labour arch Bernd Osterloh said on Tuesday. “With his adulation for products, cardinal vision, far sightedness and his adeptness to advance our brands he artificial the success of our company.”
Governance at VW was for decades apparent by a bloodthirsty administration appearance which did not abide failure, a ability that was afterwards abhorrent for causing VW managers to lie about actionable emissions, rather than acceptance that their cars could not accommodated apple-pie air rules.
The scandal, which Piech was not associated with, has amount Volkswagen added than 30 billion euros in lawsuits and fines.
Piech became Volkswagen’s arch controlling in 1993 and administrator in 2002, animating the VW cast by introducing adult technologies into alike baby bargain cars, relying on the company’s accretion accomplishment to accession profits.
VW was accused of burglary accretion ability from General Motors beneath Piech’s watch but he was never answerable with a crime.
He additionally able actual adherence from his top engineers, alike while sometimes befitting them in the dark.
While alive as development arch at Audi, Piech absitively to adumbrate the aerodynamic qualities of the Audi 100 from his top agents by application wind tunnels in Hamburg, Stuttgart, Wolfsburg and Turin to advance the vehicle.
He capital to booty the cast upmarket by touting its aerodynamic qualities, but was aflutter that an artist could birthmark to a battling with acute know-how, so he ensured that alone he had the abounding picture.
“I was in the average of it all, putting calm the pieces of the puzzle,” Piech said in his autobiography.
Piech alien quattro four-wheel drive technology to Audi, and adapted it into a aboveboard adversary to Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
Max Warburton, an analyst at Bernstein Research, declared Piech as the artist of VW’s all-around success.
“His administration of VW has been absolutely successful. Piech will go bottomward in history as an automotive legend, in the aforementioned chic as Gottlieb Daimler, Henry Ford and Kiichiro Toyoda,” Warburton said in a 2012 note.
Piech, accommodated as Volkswagen administrator in April 2015 afterwards falling out with his arch controlling Martin Winterkorn. The emissions cheating aspersion would appear alone months later.
The Porsche and Piech families still run Porsche Automobil Holding SE (PSHG_p.DE), which controls a 52.2% voting pale in Volkswagen.
Additional advertisement by Jan Schwartz in Hamburg and Ilona Wissenbach; Editing by Lisa Shumaker/Tom Brown/Sonya Hepinstall/Susan Fenton/Jane Merriman
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