The German carmaker’s head, Martin Winterkorn, has resigned on Wednesday after changes were demanded in the management team for Volkswagen due to the brand’s admission that it had cheated in the U.S. diesel emissions tests, deceiving the regulators there.
After a series of meetings with the executive committee of the VW board, Winterkorn stated that “Volkswagen needs a fresh start – also in terms of personnel. I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation.”
The largest carmaker in terms of sales admitted to U.S. regulators that its cars were programmed to detect when they were being tested in order to change the running of their diesel engines and cover the real emissions. Winterkorn publicly apologized for that. The admission led to a number of countries in Europe to launch investigations and find out if the cars sold by VW there were modified with this cheating technique.
While the German automaker has not decided on a new chief yet, proposals on management appointments will be made during a full board meeting set to take place on Friday.
The front runners for the new position are Porsche’s chief Matthias Mueller, Audi’s CEO Rupert Stadler and Head of Volkswagen’s Passenger Brand, Herber Diess.
Two people familiar with the matter said that Mueller is the favorite candidate as he has spent numerous years with the group, having the most in-depth knowledge of the brand. Mueller, who is a former product strategist chief, is also a member of the management board for Porsche.
Amidst the diesel emissions scandal, Winterkorn declared that he was shocked to encounter this form of misconduct on such a big scale in the company. He had been with the brand for the past eight years, during which doubled Volkswagen’s sales and tripled the brand’s profits.