Volkswagen Group’s longtime CEO and Supervisory Board Chairman Dr. Ferdinand Piëch has passed away on August 25, 2019, at the age of 82. He was also a Member of the Porsche Supervisory Board from 1981 to 2015.
While the cause of his death is yet to be disclosed, it is being reported that Piëch collapsed in a restaurant in Southern Germany in front of his wife Ursula. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
L-R: Alexander (cousin), Ferdinand Porsche (grandpa) and Ferdinand Piëch
Piëch began his management career in 1972 at Audi AG. Since 1988, he was the CEO of Audi, before taking over the position of CEO of Volkswagen in 1993. In 2002, Piëch was elected the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen.
In 1999, Ferdinand Piëch presented the Lupo 3L TDI in Gothenburg, Sweden. The car made a mark as the world’s first production car with fuel consumption of less than 3 litres per 100 km.
As a young engineer, he has made Porsche a brand in racing through legendary vehicles such as the 917 and the Le Mans victory. Since 1972, he has brought Audi to the next technological level with innovations such as the quattro drive and the TDI engine, and has shaped Audi into a premium brand as CEO. Heading the Volkswagen Group, Ferdinand Piëch has advanced its internationalization, the integration of Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti into the Group, and has led our volume brands to international competitiveness through a consistent platform strategy. He integrated Scania and MAN into the Group, laying the foundation for a globally competitive commercial vehicle supplier. Technologically, he and his development teams have repeatedly gone beyond the limits of the feasible: from the first one-liter car in the world to the Bugatti Veyron with 1,001 hp. – Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO, Volkswagen
As mentioned by Diess, Piëch played a significant role in developing the Porsche brand too. Prior to joining Audi, he was an employee in the engine testing department at Porsche in 1963.
In 1965, Piëch (white shirt) became the head of development at Porsche in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, where he further developed the 911.
After a successful design of an oil cooler for the Type 904 race car and a 180 hp 6-cylinder race engine, Piëch became head of the testing department in 1966. The legendary 6-cylinder boxer engine of the Porsche 911 was further developed under his leadership. In 1968, Piëch was appointed the Head of Development, before he assumed responsibility for the technology and external development areas in the Executive Board of Porsche KG in 1971.
Due to transformation of Porsche KG (limited partnership) into a stock corporation (public) and the decision that operational management positions should no longer be occupied by family members, he left the company in 1972 like other family members. He joined Audi in the same year.