Martin Winterkorn resigns as Volkswagen CEO

News | September 23rd, 2015 by 8
Martin Winterkorn VW 750x500

Martin Winterkorn is out from Volkswagen. Earlier this morning, Winterkorn has announced that he is to resign following the scandal surrounding the emissions of its …

Martin Winterkorn is out from Volkswagen. Earlier this morning, Winterkorn has announced that he is to resign following the scandal surrounding the emissions of its diesel cars. In a statement issued by the company Winterkorn said he was “shocked by the events of the past few days.” “Above all, I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group.”

A successor will be named this Friday.

VW was caught gaming the EPA and CARB (California Air Resources Board) diesel emissions tests (particulates and nitrous oxide) which triggered a huge media scandal. It has been reported that VW has earmarked 6.5B Euros for re-mediation, that is to ‘fix’ the problem with the existing cars. This is above and beyond a potential $18B fine that the EPA may levy.
vw ceo winterkorn 750x420
The emissions scandal has wiped nearly 26 billion euros ($29 billion) off its market value this week.

In stepping down Wednesday, Winterkorn said he was “not aware of any wrongdoing on my part” but had accepted the “responsibility for the irregularities that have been found in diesel engines and have therefore requested the Supervisory Board to agree on terminating my function as CEO of the Volkswagen Group.”

The former CEO seemed to have clinched a two-year contract extension earlier this year after a leadership battle with longstanding chairman, Ferdinand Piech.

8 responses to “Martin Winterkorn resigns as Volkswagen CEO”

  1. Chris Llana says:

    With Winterkorn out, there is a good chance the 56-year-old Herbert Diess (ex-chief of development at BMW) will move into the CEO slot. Diess defected to VW from BMW not too long ago when management changed. He was perhaps the principle driver of the i sub-brand, an EV advocate, and an i3 driver. If he does indeed become the head of VW, we will likely see a greater emphasis on electric vehicle development there.

    Diess has a reputation as a hard negotiator and relentless force for efficiency. He will have his work cut out for him, transforming VW’s stagnant, top-down, stifling culture into one that more closely resembles what he promoted at BMW—a consensus-oriented, creative, independent-thinking and team oriented environment. It was this “project-culture” that allowed the i sub-brand to accomplish what it did (while he was there).

    • Horatiu B. says:

      I don’t think he will, he’s a bit too old I believe.

      • Chris Llana says:

        Diess, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, and Porsche’s Matthias Mueller are the three said to be in the running. I don’t think Diess’ age is a factor, because Mueller is reported to be the favored one, and he’s 62. Diess has been the head of the core Volkswagen brand only since July, whereas Mueller has been with the company much longer, and has ties with the Piech-Porsche family that controls Volkswagen. The Board will consider the succession on Friday.

      • Chris Llana says:

        Well, now apparently Mueller is it, but an article also had this to say about Mueller’s selection — “He is a good choice even though he may be seen as a transitionary CEO until another internal candidate such as VW brand CEO Diess has earned their stripes,” said Arndt Ellinghorst, an analyst at Evercore ISI investment banking advisory firm.

  2. Chris Llana says:

    It looks like the Volkswagen group is set to take a bigger turn toward BEVs, not only because of their diesel woes, but because they now have a solid pro-EV executive lineup. Porsche’s Matthias Mueller is now set to take over Volkswagen; the Mission E concept that stole the Frankfurt Auto Show was his baby. Ex-BMW electric guru Herbert Diess is now head of the core VW brand. And Audi’s Rupert Stadler has well-established EV credentials, with their e-tron cars, and active engineering involvement in Formula E racing (the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team, which Volkswagen also partners).

    • Chris Llana says:

      Herbert Diess was not the only BMW i asset to migrate to Volkswagen AG. Referring to the three-motor e-tron quattro SUV concept shown at Frankfurt:

      “Leveraging the interplay of the two motors on the rear axle, the e-tron quattro can “turn like a hunting dog after a rabbit” without any heaviness or wallowing through sharp corners, said Siegfried Pint, Audi’s new Head of Electric Powertrain. (Pint has been at Audi for about six months, coming from BMW where he worked on the electric powertrains for the i3 and i8.) Audi has several development models already on the road.”

  3. […] sticks to their diesel engine in the U.S. amidst the Volkswagen scandal about cheating on their emission tests. BMW R&D Chief – Dr. Klaus Fröhlich – says […]

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