After clashing with chief executive Martin Winterkorn, Piëch and his wife left the board on Saturday. Reports suggested he departed after secretly attempting to rally resistance against Winterkorn, after an executive committee — which included Piëch — attempted to quell the public controversy by formally announcing support for the embattled CEO.
The board quickly chose Louise Kiesling, Piëch’s niece with a background in design, and 34-year-old Julia Kuhn-Piëch, a real-estate professional who is a member of the supervisory board of commercial vehicle maker MAN.
Despite the family connections, Piëch has argued that the seats should have been offered to two executives with more experience in relevant industries, namely former Ford executive Wolfgang Reitzle and former Siemens board member Brigitte Ederer, according to a Bild report.
Piëch’s next move is unclear, though Reuters suggests the appointments could be challenged in court. The situation will likely inspire a lively meeting when VW Group shareholders gather for their annual meeting on May 5.