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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 May 2006, 08:14 GMT 09:14 UK
VW chief's future in the balance
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Volkswagen released disappointing earning results
Volkswagen, Germany's largest carmaker, is preparing for a stormy AGM which could decide the future of its chief executive, Bernd Pischetsrieder.

The AGM, and a supervisory board meeting a day earlier, come amid restructuring plans which could lead to 20,000 job losses.

Mr Pischetsrieder's contract runs out next year, and has yet to be renewed.

Board members have made it clear that his future is not up for discussion at the board meeting.

Lower earnings

Workers' representatives on the board have voiced disquiet with Mr Pischetsrieder's leadership.

Several German newspapers have said that union leaders will use his contract as a bargaining tool when debating job losses.

VW's management argues that high costs at its German plants are handicapping it when competing with Asian rivals.

The discussions follow the announcement of first-quarter results which fell short of expectations.

Revenues were up 21% and net profits in the first three months of the year rose to 327m euros (225m; $408m) from 70m euros a year earlier.

Hans Dieter Poetsch, the firm's chief financial officer, acknowledged that the results were "far from our medium-term target".

"While the Volkswagen brand has improved this is no way obviates the need for restructuring," he said.

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