Ducati passes key hurdle

Hardcore Duc fan Ferdinand Piech retains position at top of VW tree

IN all the kerfuffle over Ducati's buyout by Audi one key point has largely been missed – namely that the biggest Ducati fan in the whole VW empire could have been forced out just as the deal was being confirmed.

Ferdinand Piech, chairman of Volkswagen's supervisory board and former CEO and chairman of the firm, is the figurehead and driving force at VW. Forced by company policy to 'retire' at 65, by taking the position on the supervisory board he's still arguably leading the company a decade later. However, yesterday at the firm's shareholder conference he had to stand once more for election to the supervisory board, and could easily have been ousted.

Instead he has been granted another five-year term, meaning he's going to remain at the head of the company until he's 80 years old.

Grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, Piech is a huge fan of Ducati and has long wanted VW to own the company. The buyout is widely being seen as a trophy purchase, made with the heart rather than the head, not unlike VW's previous Piech-led takeovers of the likes of Bugatti. With Piech in charge of VW for the next five years, Ducati's immediate future looks rosy.

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