VW board members to discuss CEO’s push for contract extension

Christoph Rauwald

Members of Volkswagen AG’s supervisory board will meet Tuesday to discuss Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess’s push for an early contract extension and deeper reforms at the carmaker, according to people familiar with the matter.

The eight-member board panel plans to review Diess’s proposal that he remain CEO beyond 2023, but it’s unclear if a decision will be made, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private. VW representatives declined to comment.

In this Friday, April 13, 2018, file photo, Herbert Diess, right, CEO of the Volkswagen, and Hans Dieter Poetsch, left, chairman of the board of directors of Volkswagen address the media during a press conference in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Diess, 62, stoked controversy last week by publicly criticizing factions within VW headquarters he said stand in the way of overhauling the company, using language echoing past comments that angered powerful labor leaders. VW’s so-called supervisory board presidium comprises members of VW’s Porsche and Piech owner family, the German state of Lower Saxony and labor representatives.

“By appealing to the Piech and Porsche family shareholders, it seems he is bringing matters to a head in a back me or sack me’ moment,” Timm Schulze-Melander, an industry specialist at Redburn, said Monday.

The CEO floated a plan to extend his contract, which expires in 2023, after struggling to win support from key stakeholders for his picks to fill top management posts, people familiar with the matter said last week. Discussions about a new contract usually start about a year before the mandate ends.