Startup electric car brand Piech is busily poaching senior automotive talent from rival brands, as well as attracting investment from major US sourced.
Scion of the Piech dynasty
If you're thinking that you've heard that name before, you have - Ferdinand Piech, married into the Porsche clan, created the 917 Le Mans racer and the original Audi Quattro, and eventually rose to become the head of Volkswagen, buying up brands such as SEAT, Skoda, Bentley, and Bugatti to turn it into the car-making behemoth that it is today. Ferdinand passed away in 2019, but Piech Automotive is named for and run by Anton Piech (Toni, to his friends), the son of Ferdinand, and the grandson of another Ferdinand - Ferdinand Porsche.
Anyway, Piech Automotive rocked up at the Geneva Motor Show last year (remember motor shows? Ahhh....) with a concept electric coupe called the Piech Mark Zero GT. Now, Anton Piech is becoming ever more serious about putting this car into production, and has been busily tempting senior executives to come and join him.
Recruiting from Porsche and BMW
Matthias Müller, former CEO of Porsche and Volkswagen, is newly appointed as Chairman. He will work closely with company co-founders Toni Piech and Rea Stark in shaping an ambitious product development and corporate strategy. Former BMW Motorsport chief engineer Klaus Schmidt retains his role as Piech Automotive's Chief Technology Officer and will now also become one of two company CEOs. Over the past four years, Schmidt has led the creation of the company's highly innovative modular vehicle platform, which can accommodate multiple body variants and powertrain layouts. He will oversee the management of all technical operations.
At Schmidt's side will be newly appointed CEO and Chief Marketing Officer Andreas Henke, who takes the lead on brand strategy and marketing, customer relationships, finance and personnel. Henke joins from high-end audio manufacturer Burmester; Prior to that, he was with Porsche, where he held various management positions in strategy, marketing and sales.
Also joining the Piech colours is Jochen Rudat, who recently started as Piech Automotive's Head of Sales. A former direct report to Elon Musk, Rudat built Tesla's dealership network in Europe from the ground up and scaled the business for 10 years.
Raising investment cash
Toni Piëch commented: "Matthias Müller is a hugely capable and highly successful automotive industry leader, and it is immensely gratifying that he is committed to our new approach."
Co-Founder Rea Stark added: "The dual CEO leadership with Klaus Schmidt and Andreas Henke strengthens our objective of not only bringing technologically innovative vehicles to the road, but also completely redefining the brand and the relationship, which we will develop with our customers."
Chairman of the Board, Matthias Müller, commented: "I was immediately enthusiastic about the mission of the two founders, because it is more compelling and more visionary than all the new approaches I have encountered during my work in the automotive industry. I am proud to be involved in the business - it has the potential to herald a new chapter for modern mobility and shape the future of the automobile. It is an endeavour that will receive my wholehearted support."
Piech has also been out and about getting investment for his fledgling car maker together. And that includes money coming in from controversial US investor Peter Thiel - controversial because of his right-ring leanings and political support for Donald Trump - and the company is putting that cash into the building of its first prototypes. Piech claims to have developed a 'revolutionary' battery and charging technology that can achieve 80 per cent battery capacity after being charged for just 4 minutes 40 seconds, delivering a range of 400km.