Longtime Volkswagen AG boss Ferdinand Piech passed away on Sunday at the age of 82 at Rosenheim, Germany. Of all his achievements, and there were many, Ferdinand Piech was most closely linked to the development of the legendary Porsche 917 Le Mans-winning race car. He was more recently the CEO and Supervisory Board Chairman of the Volkswagen Group, a post he resigned from in 2015. He is widely considered to be the architect of Volkswagen’s global success and growth. Piech was the grandson of Porsche founder Ferdinand Porsche.

Piech began his automotive journey as part of the team improving the Porsche 904, and later the iconic 911 sports car. He was also involved in building the Porsche 917 race car, which has been immortalized in its Gulf Blue racing colours. After this he setup his consultancy wherein he developed a five-cylinder engine for Mercedes-Benz.

Ferdinand Piech

Piech began his automotive journey as part of the team improving the Porsche 904, and later the iconic 911 sports car

He then joined Audi in 1972. Since 1988, he was CEO of Audi AG, before taking over the position of CEO of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft in 1993. In 2002, Piech was elected Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. In 2015, he resigned from his mandates in the Volkswagen Group.

Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG said: “Ferdinand Piech was bold, entrepreneurially consistent, and technically brilliant. As a young engineer, he has made Porsche a brand in racing through legendary vehicles such as the 917 and the Le Mans victory. Since 1972, he has brought Audi to the next technological level with innovations such as the quattro drive and the TDI engine, and has shaped Audi into a premium brand as CEO. Heading the Volkswagen Group, Ferdinand Piech has advanced its internationalization, the integration of Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti into the Group, and has led our volume brands to international competitiveness through a consistent platform strategy.”

Ferdinand Piech was also involved in building the Porsche 917 race car, which has been immortalized in its Gulf Blue racing colours

"He integrated Scania and MAN into the Group, laying the foundation for a globally competitive commercial vehicle supplier. Technologically, he and his development teams have repeatedly gone beyond the limits of the feasible: from the first one-liter car in the world to the Bugatti Veyron with 1,001 hp. Above all, Ferdinand Piech brought quality and perfection down to the last detail in the automotive industry, deeply anchoring it in the Volkswagen DNA. I look with gratitude and great respect at his life’s work," Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG.

Hans-Dieter Potsch, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG stated: “Ferdinand Piech has written automotive history – as a passionate manager, ingenious engineer, and a visionary entrepreneur. Since the 1960s, he has significantly shaped the development of the automobile, pushing forward the entire industry and above all Volkswagen, transforming the company into a global mobility group. Our company and its people owe Prof. Piech a lot. With deep respect, we bow to his life’s work. We mourn with his family and relatives. And we will always keep him and his life’s work in honourable memory.”

In commemoration of Ferdinand Piech, the flags are set to half-mast in various Volkswagen locations, including Wolfsburg and Dresden, the company stated.

Volkswagen Group CEO Piech

Since 1988, Ferdinand Piech was CEO of Audi AG, before taking over the position of CEO of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft in 1993