MUNICH -- Audis boss thinks Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn should head a combined VW and Porsche, a magazine reports.
Rupert Stadler, who is CEO of VW's Audi unit, said in an interview with Germanys Wirtschaftswoche: "With Martin Winterkorn we have the best and most successful car manager I know as the head of VW.
I am definitely in favor of this remaining as it is, even in a new combination," he said, according to a pre-release from the magazine's Monday edition.
On May 6, Porsche Automobil Holding SE halted attempts to take over VW AG and instead agreed to explore a merger with Europe's biggest automaker.
Stadlers comments come less than a week after German magazine Focus said he could become a compromise candidate and emerge as the CEO of the new company.
Stadler, who is under contract with Audi until 2015, said this week that he does not want the job.
Stadler and Winterkorn used to work together at Audi when Winterkorn was CEO and Stadler was chief financial offier. When Winterkorn started in his current job January 1, 2007, Stadler succeeded him at Audi.
Winterkorn also has the backing of VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech.
Talking to reporters at a car launch on Monday, Piech named Winterkorn as his candidate to head a merged group.
He said it was unlikely Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking would be happy to stay on in a more "lowly" role.
Such criticism from Piech, who is also a major shareholder in Porsche, has ended the careers of other auto managers.