Wolfgang Hatz officially leaves Porsche AG
Dr Michael Steiner has assumed the Head of Research and Development role on Porsche AG’s Executive Board after it was announced this week that Wolfgang Hatz – R&D chief at Weissach for more than five years – has officially left the Stuttgart sports car manufacturer.
Hatz, 57, who had been embroiled in Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal last year, announced his immediate departure from the board in a meeting at Zuffenhausen on Tuesday with Porsche’s Supervisory Board releasing him from his contract by mutual consent.
When news of VW’s diesel crisis broke last September, it was initially reported that Hatz – a board member at Wolfsburg alongside his role at Porsche – was set for the sack. However, the German engineer was instead placed on temporary leave while the cause of the emissions scandal was investigated internally.
Hatz was found to have no co-responsibility in the crisis however, after more than six months away from his Weissach office, he has decided to leave Porsche. “I look back fondly on my time at Porsche AG and am very happy that Michael Steiner is taking over as my successor,” Hatz explained in a press release.
During his time as the Head of R&D, Hatz created a significant legacy, overseeing the 918 Spyder project while also playing a pivotal role in Porsche’s return to top class sports car racing with the 919 Hybrid.
The latter culminated with victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year (Porsche’s first overall triumph since 1998) and all three FIA World Endurance Racing titles.
Hatz was also instrumental in the development of the all-electric Mission E prototype vehicle that was showcased at the 2015 IAA in Frankfurt just before the news of VW’s emissions scandal. The car will go on to form the basis of Porsche’s first all-electric Tesla rival before the end of this decade.
His replacement, Michael Steiner has held a number of leading roles at Weissach of the last 14 years, most recently working as Vice President of Complete Vehicle Engineering/Quality Management.
The 51-year-old, takes over at a time when Porsche is developing its automotive range in a number of key directions, including the increasing hybridisation of its cars – including the next Porsche 911.