The former head of Volkswagen, Ferdinand Piëch, died suddenly this past Sunday. The 82 year-old former auto executive died in Bavaria in Germany after dinner at a restaurant. According to German newspaper Bild, Ferdinand Piëch was transported to hospital and declared dead at 9:45 pm. No cause of death has been announced as of yet.
Ferdinand Piëch served as CEO of Volkswagen from 1993 to 2002, at which point he became chairman of the company’s supervisory board, until 2015. But Piëch was best known early on due to his link with the Porsche family. He was the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, and it was at his grandfather’s company that he started his career as an engineer. In the 1960s, he worked on the development of Porsche’s 917 race car, one of his undisputed career highlights.
He subsequently moved to Audi, which he led as CEO. In his time there, he oversaw development of the celebrated Audi Quattro. Upon taking over at the Volkswagen Group, he steered the company to an impressive recovery, as it bought Lamborghini and Bentley and became a world force in the automotive domain. Ferdinand Piëch was also front and centre when VW integrated Porsche into its ranks in 2012 – this after the latter had tried to acquire it.
Just weeks after the death of former Chrysler boss Lee Iacocca, the automotive world loses another of its iconic, outsized figures.