Rover fears as BMW chief faces the axe

ROVER UNIONS last night demanded an urgent meeting with its parent company BMW amid reports that Bernd Pischetsrieder may be ousted as chairman of the German car maker today in a boardroom coup.

The threat to Mr Pischestrieder has raised fresh concerns about the future of Rover's Longbridge plant in Birmingham. It was saved from closure last year only after unions agreed to 2,500 job losses and a pounds 150m a year cost- saving plan brokered by the BMW chairman.

Mr Pischetsrieder, who bought Rover from British Aerospace in 1994 for pounds 800m and has been its greatest supporter on the BMW board, is tipped to be replaced by Wolfgang Reitzle, his deputy chairman.

Although both BMW and the Quandt family, which own 45 per cent of the shares, denied that such a coup was imminent, shares in the company leapt by 11 per cent on expectations that he would be shown the door at today's meeting of the supervisory board in Munich.

The BMW supervisory board and the Quandt family are said to have lost patience with Mr Pischetsrieder, who has failed to turn Rover into profit despite pumping pounds 3bn into it in the past five years.

Mr Reitzle, who reluctantly accepted the job as Rover chairman for a brief period following the takeover, is known to have opposed Mr Pischestrieder's strategy for turning the ailing car maker around. He is thought much more likely to close Longbridge and switch production of a planned medium-sized car to replace the Rover 200-400 series elsewhere, possibly Hungary.

Last night Tony Woodley, chief motor industry negotiator for the Transport and General Workers' Union, expressed "great concern" about the BMW chairman's fate. "While we would be disappointed if Mr Pischestrieder leaves, we would expect - indeed we would demand - that the recent confirmation of new models and new investment, particularly at Longbridge, is honoured."

BMW confirmed that its supervisory board is to meet today but refused to comment on speculation about Mr Pischetsrieder's rumoured departure, insisting that "personal matters" were not on the agenda.

Behind the boardroom in-fighting is a tussle over the strategy of the BMW group andwhether it can remain independent. It has already received a merger approach from Fiat and Ford was rumoured to be preparing a bid before it unveiled its $6.5bn takeover of Volvo.

Outlook, page 19

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Property Underwriter

£70-90,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client a London Market Insurer are seeking a Pro...

Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week