Wendelin Wiedeking, the man who turned Porsche around in the 1990s and transformed it into a global cash cow, was given his marching orders last week. Off he went, assuming the controls, albeit momentarily, to the most powerful golden ejector seat ever to be ridden by a European industry boss in the form of an astonishing £86m pay-off.
More incredible still, Wiedeking's introduction to das-boot, was administered to him personally by none other than “Herr Volkswagen” himself, Ferdinand Piech, the 72 year old grandson of Porsche’s founder, Ferdinand Porsche. As they say in the movies, you couldn’t make it up if you tried.
Often referred to as the saviour of Porsche, Wendelin Wiedeking is widely credited with rescuing the company from certain bankruptcy when he took over in 1993. Since then, Porsche’s rise to fame has been well documented. Until recently the company has posted record profits year on year while staying faithful to its cause in terms of product. In many ways, it has achieved the impossible under the guidance of Wiedeking.
Ironically, though, Porsche’s extraordinary ascendancy might be what did for its so-called saviour in the final reckoning. Because no one, not even Wendelin Wiedeking, is bigger than Porsche itself, especially not if Ferdinand Piech has any say over the matter, which is very much the case in this instance.