FRANKFURT -- Ferdinand Piech, the driving force behind Volkswagen and Audi for decades, is cutting all ties to the company he considered to be more important than his own family. He will resign from the board of VW Group's parent, Porsche SE, next month.
Piech transferred the bulk of his 14.7 percent stake, reportedly worth roughly 1 billion euros, in Porsche SE, his extended family's investment vehicle, to other members of the Porsche and Piech clan. Porsche owns just over half of VW's voting stock.
"Following the completed transfer of Piech has resigned his office as member of the board effective December 8," Porsche SE in a statement Wednesday.
Despite the billions amassed by his family through the dynasty his grandfather Ferdinand Porsche built, Piech said the three things most important to him in life were "Volkswagen, family and money – in that order."
Piech's departure from the board marks the final chapter in the saga of Ferdinand Piech, a gifted engineer and ruthless manager whose ambitions as Volkswagen CEO and later chairman helped turn the German carmaker into a global automotive powerhouse.
In April 2015, he resigned from all posts at VW Group after losing a power struggle with his former protege, then-CEO Martin Winterkorn. Over time, relations with his extended family and his cousin, fellow VW director Wolfgang Porsche, worsened and eventually he decided to liquidate his stake. This contractually meant a sale to his rival family members, who have a right of first refusal whenever another relative wants out.
Piech's departure could also mark a change at Porsche SE as a younger generation of the Porsche-Piech clan moving into key roles. Josef Ahorner, Piech's nephew, is seen as a possible replacement for his uncle on the board.