Tony O'Kane | Sep 16, 2008

He's the grandson of Beetle inventor Ferdinand Porsche and aside from helping turn the Volkswagen Group into the car-manufacturing behemoth it is today, he was also instrumental in turning the mighty Bugatti Veyron from a schoolboy's fantasy into fire-spitting reality.

Yet despite the thickness of his resume, which includes many years as CEO then Chairman of Volkswagen, Ferdinand Piech's future as Chairman of the Supervisory Board at VW may now be under threat - from his cousin, Porsche Chairman Wolfgang Porsche.

The familial spat has reportedly been sparked by Porsche SE's intention to increase its share in Volkswagen from 31 percent to over 50 percent by the end of this year, effectively giving the Porsche/Piech family a controlling stake in Europe's biggest auto group. Given his position on VW's board, Piech has up until now been regarded as instrumental to Porsche's takeover bid. However his recent behaviour and abstentions from several key votes has angered his cousin Wolfgang and prompted calls for his removal.

Clearly nothing is going to get in the way of the Porsche family's desire to add Volkswagen to their corporate empire - not even the career of one of their own. Piech's troubles reportedly stem from his support for VW workers who are anxious about the Porsche takeover, but it's not entirely clear why Piech is willing to put his job on the line by going against the grain on the issue. One thing is certain though: unless he starts to toe the family line, he could very well find himself emptying the contents of his mahogany desk into a cardboard box.

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