FRANKFURT -- The Porsche and Piech families, which control Volkswagen Group's largest shareholder Porsche SE, continue to support the automaker's CEO, Herbert Diess, a spokesperson for Porsche SE said on Friday.
"The families continue to back Diess. There has been no change in their position," the spokesperson said.
The comments come after Diess' relationship with German labor representatives hit a new low this week with disagreement over how radically Europe's top automaker must overhaul itself to achieve electric vehicle dominance over Tesla.
Porsche SE, which is 50 percent-owned by the Porsche and Piech families, is Volkswagen's largest shareholder with 31.4 percent of shares. Qatar and the state of Lower Saxony, where Volkswagen is based, own 14.6 percent and 11.8 percent, respectively. Between them they hold more than 90 percent of the voting rights, but on VW's supervisory board -- which approves key strategic decisions -- labor representatives hold half of the 20 seats as part of Germany's co-determination principle.
In the rare event of a stalemate on the board, the chairman -- in this case Porsche SE CEO Hans Dieter Poetsch -- holds sway.
Diess has urged German workers to prepare for a deeper overhaul to remain competitive when Tesla ramps up vehicle production at its first European factory outside Berlin next year.
The CEO canceled a trip to the U.S. this week where he was supposed to meet investors and visit technology firms on the West Coast to soothe growing tensions with VW's powerful union leaders at home.
Daniela Cavallo, head of the powerful works council at VW, called on Diess to focus his attention on resolving the persistent chip shortage that hit VW harder than Tesla or BMW, instead of engaging in social media activities.
"You supply us frequently with nice pictures from your trips, but unfortunately still not with semiconductors," she said.
Diess, whose contract was extended until 2025 in July, is currently hammering out the company's next investment plan to 2030, a process that usually causes friction among stakeholders each year.
The 63-year-old executive has been repeatedly criticized for his communication style that labor representatives say displays a lack of interest in the concerns of 675,000 employees around the world.
Diess, in particular, drew the ire of workers when he told VW's supervisory board in September that roughly 30,000 jobs were at risk if the company was too slow in its EV transition, sources have said.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report