Ferdinand Piëch, the former chairman of Volkswagen and a grandson of the Beetle designer, has officially agreed to sell the majority of his shares to other members of the family.
Mr Piëch, 79, has been increasingly isolated from the rest of the Porsche-Piëch family — who own 52 per cent of Volkswagen — since he lost his chairmanship in April 2015 after battling with then-chief executive Martin Winterkorn.
Six months after Mr Piëch’s abrupt departure, the carmaker’s diesel emissions scandal emerged, with the German company admitting that it cheated emissions tests on up to 11m cars worldwide, using software that masked emissions in tests but allowed far more pollution than permitted in actual use.
Mr Piëch said nothing at the outset of the scandal, but in accounts of leaked testimony to German prosecutors released in February, the ex-chairman alleged that Mr Winterkorn and several other board members knew of the cheating as early as February 2015.
VW’s 20-member supervisory board came forward on February 8 to “emphatically” repudiate the allegations, with individual members unequivocally rejecting “the assertions made by Ferdinand Piëch as untrue.” VW said the law firm it hired, Jones Day, had thoroughly investigated similar assertions made last summer, and concluded they were baseless.
Mr Piëch is one of the largest individual owners of Porsche SE. A person familiar with the agreement said Mr Piëch has agreed to sell a 14.7 per cent stake in Porsche SE to other members of the family. He will retain an undisclosed stake in the company.
When the Porsche holding company has its next supervisory board meeting on May 30, it is expected to nominate six people to the board, including Mr Piëch. Six labour representatives recently agreed to give up their seats, cutting the number of board members in half.