STUTTGART -- Volkswagen groups union chief Bernd Osterloh has joined the four-person inner council of Porsche Automobil Holding, the body that oversees the Porsche-Piëch familys 51 percent stake in VW group.
Osterloh has been the most powerful critic of Porsches takeover of VW but it is not clear whether he gained more influence at Porsche with the new appointment.
By being a member of the presidium [inner council], Osterloh strengthened his power at Porsche because he will be involved in important decisions right from the beginning, said Frank Schwope, auto analyst at Nord/LB bank in Germany.
Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, a German academic, disagrees. Osterloh lost power because he is not stronger than Porsches union head Uwe Hück, said Dudenhöffer, who is director of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
Hück is Porsche Automobil supervisory board vice chairman and also a member of the boards inner council. Other members are Porsche Chairman Wolfgang Porsche and Hans Michel Piëch.
Porsche plans to take full control of VW and Osterloh has been determined to protect VW from Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedekings influence.
Osterloh has said he fears that VW jobs would be at risk with Porsche Automobils supervisory board taking key decisions about VWs future investments.
VW and Porsche are set to become increasingly linked financially. Porsche confirmed at its annual meeting here January 30 that it intends to increase its VW shareholding to 75 percent during 2009. Porsche will then seek a domination and profit transfer agreement that would grant it full control of VWs cash flows.
If Porsche gets a domination agreement then all the important decisions will be made in Zuffenhausen, Osterloh told a German news agency.
Osterloh represents VWs workforce of 360,000. Porsche has 12,000 workers. After two years of disputes, the current global economic crisis has reduced the friction between Porsche and VW.
At both companies, economic performance is key now. Thats why differences have been settled -- in order to emerge from the current economic crisis, said Christian Müller said, consultant at IHS Global Insight.