STUTTGART/BERLIN, Germany (Reuters) -- Volkswagen Group's supervisory board steering committee will meet today to try to resolve a leadership crisis caused by the exposure of a rift between its CEO and chairman, a source familiar with the matter said.
"The committee meeting will take place today," the person told Reuters.
Volkswagen declined comment on the meeting. Sources previously told Reuters the meeting would take place on Friday.
VW's Chairman Ferdinand Piech said in a German magazine interview last week he had distanced himself from CEO Martin Winterkorn, dampening speculation that Winterkorn's term would be extended beyond 2016, or that he would succeed Piech as chairman.
Sources have told Reuters that Piech has aired criticism at supervisory board meetings over the past five months regarding the company's performance under his former protege, Winterkorn, particularly in the U.S., where the VW brand has fallen far short of sales goals.
Two people close to the labor side of Volkswagen's supervisory board said the works council still support Winterkorn despite the negative comments from Piech, who has in the past ended executives' careers with a single remark.
Piech, 77, is the patriarch of Volkswagen's ruling clan. The family, which includes Piech's cousin Porsche Automobil Chairman Wolfgang Porsche, who owns 50.7 percent of voting rights in VW Group.
Strategic decisions also need support from German unions, which occupy half of the 20 supervisory board seats.
The steering committee that will meet on Thursday comprises six members: works council chief Bernd Osterloh and two other labor representatives, Piech, Porsche and Lower Saxony Prime Minister Stephan Weil.
The works council and the state of Lower Saxony also declined comment on any possible meeting.