FRANKFURT Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) has denied a newspaper report that its 76-year-old chairman, Ferdinand Piech, plans to step down from his post in the coming months for health reasons.
Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper had earlier cited sources close to Piech as saying he is likely step down in the coming months because of poor health and wanted 66-year-old Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn to succeed him.
"Dr Piech is in the best of health and will remain supervisory board chairman of Volkswagen for a long time," a spokeswoman for Europe's largest carmaker said on Friday.
Handelsblatt also wrote that 62-year-old finance chief Hans Dieter Poetsch would run the company until a longer-term solution could be found.
Volkswagen's supervisory board meets at the end of this month and until then the company wants to keep its focus on next week's Frankfurt auto show, the paper added.
Piech has pulled the strings at Volkswagen for 20 years, first as chief executive and later chairman. Both a brilliant tactician and engineer in his own right, Piech ruled over the company like no other figure since his grandfather, Ferdinand Porsche, first created the Volkswagen Beetle.
During Piech's time in charge Volkswagen has been transformed into the world's third-largest carmaker, purchasing luxury names such as Bentley and Lamborghini, expanding the company's reach while lowering engineering costs across all brands through a revolutionary new platform strategy.
(Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner and Christoph Steitz,; Editing by Greg Mahlich and David Goodman)