Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG this week announced the death of Peter W. Schutz. The former President and CEO of Porsche AG passed away on 29 October 2017 at the age of 87. Schutz is perhaps best remembered for his decision to preserve the iconic 911 sports car.
When Peter Schutz took over as President and CEO of Porsche AG in January 1981, the company was experiencing a difficult period, as the company had recorded its first ever losses in 1980. But in just his third week as Porsche CEO, Schutz reversed the company’s earlier decision to cease production of the 911. The car’s success continues to justify this move, as the 911 has been regarded as an iconic vehicle and the ultimate sports car for more than five decades.
During his tenure, Peter Schutz not only changed the company’s strategic direction. The German-American was also largely responsible for increasing the appeal of Porsche’s range of models, helping to successfully introduce the 911 Cabriolet. In addition, Peter Schutz furthered the expansion of the transaxle model range with the introduction of the 944 Turbo, 944 S and 944 S2 as well as their equivalent convertible variants. In 1982, Porsche set new records in motorsport, winning almost all categories and special rankings at Le Mans and achieving positions one to five in the race. When the Porsche 959 was unveiled in Frankfurt in 1985, it was dubbed the Über-911 by the press and it underlined the sports car manufacturer’s technical expertise at the time.
Peter Schutz trebled the company’s sales and restored Porsche’s status as a profitable enterprise and for five consecutive financial years, the company set one record after another. However, the economic crisis in the second half of the decade brought the ‘golden 80s’ to a close. The declining export revenues and corresponding drop in sales in the USA signalled the end of Peter W. Schutz’s tenure as President and CEO of Porsche, and he left the company in 1987.
Schultz retired to Naples, Florida in 1988 and became a renowned motivational speaker, and remained popular in Porsche circles. Schultz is survived by his wife, daughter and two sons.
Edited by: Glen Smale
Images by: Porsche Archives