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AUF WIEDERSEHEN

Volkswagen’s dethroned chairman leaves a company thoroughly transformed by his tenure

By Leo Mirani

Reporter

Over the weekend, on April 25, Ferdinand Piëch resigned as chairman of Volkswagen following a boardroom battle that saw him lose the confidence of the board. It was an abrupt end to a spectacular career.

The 78-year-old Piëch is the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, who dreamed up the Beetle. Piëch came to Volkswagen in 1993, at a time when the company was mired in losses and heavily bloated. He turned the company around, transforming it into the world’s second largest automaker, on a par with General Motors of America and Toyota of Japan. He grew revenue six-fold, and tripled both the number of cars sold by the group and the number of brands it controls, scooping up Ducati, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Bentley, and Porsche. He also kicked off VW’s commercial vehicles business. Here’s how the company changed under Piëch:

Item19932014
Cars sold3.4 million10.1 million
Revenue$46 billion$269 billion
Net income$1.23 billion loss$14.3 billion
Brands412
Employees253,000592,586
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