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Volkswagen extends CEO's contract, ending leadership battle
[FRANKFURT] German auto giant Volkswagen attempted to draw a line Friday under a bitter power struggle on its management board, saying it would extend the contract of chief executive Martin Winterkorn.
"The presidium of the supervisory board asserts that Martin Winterkorn is the best possible chief executive for Volkswagen," the carmaker said in a short statement.
"The presidium sets great store by the fact that Mr Winterkorn should continue to act in his function as CEO as actively and successfully as he has done in the past. He has the full support of the presidium, which will propose that his contract be extended at the supervisory board meeting in February 2016," the statement said.
The declaration appears to be aimed at defusing media reports of a bitter battle between Mr Winterkorn and VW's supervisory board chief Ferdinand Piech.
Mr Piech, a member of the powerful Porsche dynasty that is a shareholder in Volkswagen, and one of the most important figures in German business, sparked an uproar last weekend by declaring in a magazine interview that he was "distancing himself" from Mr Winterkorn.
Until now, Mr Winterkorn was seen as Mr Piech's close ally and heir apparent on the carmaker's supervisory board.
Mr Piech's comments ignited speculation of a fierce leadership battle that could derail the smooth running of the company.
But VW's other shareholders have since rallied behind Mr Winterkorn, leaving Mr Piech looking isolated.