VW names interim Audi boss, seeking to steady brand
after CEO arrest
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[June 19, 2018]
By Irene Preisinger and Ilona Wissenbach
MUNICH (Reuters) - Volkswagen <VOWG_p.DE>
suspended Audi boss Rupert Stadler and announced an interim replacement
on Tuesday, seeking to steady its most profitable business after German
authorities arrested Stadler as part of an emissions probe.
Audi said Stadler, 55, had requested to temporarily step down from his
position, and named sales executive Abraham Schot as an interim
replacement with immediate effect, confirming an earlier Reuters story.
Stadler's arrest has thrown Volkswagen (VW) back into turmoil almost
three years after it admitted to using illegal software to cheat U.S.
emissions tests on diesel engines.
Analysts said the arrest raised questions about whether Europe's biggest
carmaker had done enough to reform itself in the wake of the crisis, and
that it threatened a delicate truce among the group's powerful
stakeholders, who had previously clashed about whether Stadler should
remain in power.
VW has set aside around $30 billion to cover the cost of fines, vehicle
refits and lawsuits arising from its "dieselgate" scandal, and is
spending billions more on electric vehicles to try to rebuild its
Munich prosecutors arrested Stadler at his home in Ingolstadt in the
early hours of Monday, saying they saw a risk he could try to suppress
evidence. He remains remanded in custody, but has not been charged with
VW and Audi said on Monday that Stadler was presumed innocent unless
Last week, Munich prosecutors said they were investigating Stadler for
suspected fraud and false advertising and for his alleged role in
helping to bring cars equipped with illegal software on to the European
VW has for years said only lower-level managers knew of the emissions
cheating. However, U.S. authorities filed criminal charges against
former VW boss Martin Winterkorn earlier this year, and German
prosecutors continue to investigate.
[to top of second column]
Rupert Stadler, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi,
attends the "AI for Good" Global Summit at the International
Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland June 7, 2017.
REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo
Stadler has been under fire from the media, politicians and VW's powerful trade
unions for his handling of the scandal, but he survived a management reshuffle
announced in August thanks to backing from the Piech and Porsche families that
Schot joined the VW group in 2011 after having worked as president and CEO of
Mercedes-Benz Italia. He has been Audi board member for sales and marketing
since last September.
Peter Mosch, deputy chairman on Audi's supervisory board and head of its works
council, said labour representatives had backed a move to appoint Schot as
interim CEO to ensure that Audi's business did not suffer from the leadership
"For the employees it is now important that the interim CEO returns the company
to calmer waters, drives the (diesel) investigation and brings it to a
conclusion, but mostly keeps the day-to-day business in view," he said in a
At 1140 GMT, VW shares were down 2.9 percent at 151.60 euros, extending Monday's
(Additional reporting by Edward Taylor and Jan Schwartz; Editing by Keith Weir
and Mark Potter)
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