Ferdinand Piech, chair of family-controlled Volkswagen, has hinted he could stay at the carmaker for another five to seven years, despite being 75 years old.
In April, VW shareholders voted for Piech to serve a third term as chairman, to end in December 2016. But in an interview with German newspaper Bild am Sonntag last week, Piech, whose family holds a majority stake in VW, said he wanted to stay around longer to support chief executive Martin Winterkorn.
"I have asked Martin Winterkorn to launch the next [model of the Volkswagen hatchback] Golf. A new model of the Golf usually comes out every 5 to 7 years. At least that long I will cover Winterkorn's back as chairman," Piech said.
The statement has raised speculation that the company, which had revenues of €159.3 billion in 2011, is putting succession planning on the backburner.
Earlier this year, Piech’s wife Ursula joined the company’s supervisory board, increasing the number of family members on the board to five – a quarter of members.