The powerful families behind the Volkswagen Group are reiterating their support for CEO Matthias Mueller, insiders say, after the latest criticism of his handling of the US emissions scandal.
The former Volkswagen CEO, Martin Winterkorn, was been pushed aside back in September 2014 after he drew a lot of criticism, as he didn’t immediately react after the first disclosures in the emissions scandal occurred. Those who are in control of the Group have put their hopes in the newly appointed chief Matthias Mueller to bring the German carmaker to shore, but the slow progress in the US diesel crisis has also brought him under fire. His first US visit since the dieselgate erupted did not go exactly according to plan. The US regulators have rejected the fix planned for the affected cars and his meeting with the safety officials did not end up in an agreement into this direction. And to make matters worse, Muller made an inappropriate statement during a radio interview, in which the CEO blamed the scandal on a misunderstanding and called it a technical, not an ethical, problem.
“Everybody can see that Mr. Mueller’s US trip was not successful. He made a mistake. But that does not mean that we move away from him,” said a source close to the board. “The Porsche and Piech families stand firmly behind Mr. Mueller.” Senior members of the Volkswagen supervisory board are due to meet on Tuesday to discuss the progress of an internal investigation into the scandal, insiders said. Another company insider said the board is ready to turn a blind eye to his shortcomings, as “there is nobody else” to bring the company to a new path, the source said. Nevertheless, Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper recently reported that Muller has lost some of board members’ trust.