Grandmaster ’Tache as they called him, grew up in Germany’s most industrious and most populous Rhine river region. Wendelin Wiedeking studied at the, ahem, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule in Aachen where he got his engineering doctorate from a renowned academy famous for Nobel laureates and the engineering field in particular.
Straight out of school Wiedeking went to Porsche where he assisted in the production department, which was at the time famously wasteful. In the department he rose to head, and just two year after that in 1993 as Porsche was on the brink of bankruptcy, Wiedeking found himself in the seat of the CEO.
As a young exec in the role, at just 40, Wiedeking got to doing some revolutionary work at Porsche, finally dropping the somewhat disagreeable 928 model line, and then introducing Porsche’s saviours in the Boxster and Cayenne SUV line. Grandmaster ’Tache shone on top as the man who saved Porsche.
But then, as quickly as he rose he started to topple — Wiedeking got a bit too outspoken and controlling for the ruling families to bear. Starting a feud with Wolfgang Porsche and Ferdinand Piëch proved to be his biggest mistake. Leading an unprecedented takeover attempt of Porsche, Wiedeking failed at his coup d’etat and was left without a role in either Volkswagen or Porsche (and with the former gobbling up the latter to boot), plus a legal charge to worry about regarding his role in manipulating share prices. And it was such a fine moustache, too.