RIP Peter Schutz – a Porsche life well lived

Very sad to hear that Peter Schutz has died. The 911 and its fans have Peter to thank for saving their bacon – he was the man who took over the loss-making Porsche as CEO in 1981 and famously walked into a product meeting where the 911 production graph on the wall stopped the same year. He picked up a marker and continued the line off the chart, over the desk, across the wall and out the door.

“Do we understand?” asked Peter. Those present must have got it, as the 911 subsequently went from strength to strength. The legend that is Ray Shaffer at Porsche Cars North America put some words about Schutz on his Instagram and I share them below. Ray knew Peter personally and he hits the spot nicely.

With his passing this weekend, we’ve lost a dear friend, father, husband, leader and mentor in Peter W. Schutz. He leaves this world a better place than the one he found, with his everlasting legacy and thoughtful teachings. 

In the Porsche community, he was the man who invited Ferry Porsche back to his office in Stuttgart. He “saved” the 911 model and helped secure its future by championing the Cabriolet, Speedster and 959 developments and by listening to those around him – people like Porsche, Bott, Falk, Singer, Jantke, to name only a few. Peter also let the people of Porsche know their purpose by famously declaring: “as long as I am in charge of this company, we will never go to any race without the objective of winning.”

Peter was a great friend of the late Bob Snodgrass and the family of Brumos Porsche. When Bob passed in 2007, Peter was the first person to contact me. I will never forget the thoughtful letter of care and concern he wrote about how to keep the Brumos spirit alive. It became my “go to” reference piece that would serve me well during my tenure as general manager. But I was not alone. Peter was a mentor to many personally and through the pages of his excellent book, The Driving Force. 

With thoughts and prayers for Sheila, Lori and the entire Schutz family. Godspeed, Peter.

Peter stayed with Porsche until 1987 and was 87 when he passed. From what I have read, he lived a great life and his work certainly had an untold impact on my career, in many ways bested only by Ferry himself. I cannot begin to describe how many lessons from Peter’s career have embedded themselves in my outlook. He was truly a unique individual.

RIP Peter: forever an unforgettable part of Porsche history.

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