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By Jan Schwartz and Georgina Prodhan HAMBURG/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Ferdinand Piech, a towering figure at Volkswagen for more than two decades, resigned as its chairman on Saturday after losing a showdown he had provoked with Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn, ending an era at the iconic German carmaker. Piech, the 78-year-old grandson of the inventor of the Volkswagen Beetle Ferdinand Porsche, had previously seen off other executives who crossed him, including his own hand-picked successor as CEO, Bernd Pischetsrieder. "The members of the steering committee came to a consensus that, in the light of the past weeks, the mutual trust necessary for successful cooperation was no longer there," the six-member panel said in a statement after another meeting on Saturday. The steering committee was and is conscious of its responsibility to Volkswagen and its many thousand staff." Two sources with knowledge of the matter said Piech had resigned without forcing a vote of the committee at its second crisis gathering in 10 days.
Four years after breaking ground, New York's much-loved Whitney Museum for American art reopens next Friday in a futuristic $422 million premises built by Italian architect Renzo Piano. The celebrated museum of modern and contemporary American art has turned its back on the bourgeois satisfaction of the Upper East Side to move down town to the achingly cool Meatpacking District.