Despite the fact that Volkswagen is going through its biggest crisis ever, the investors endorsed its management’s actions for 2015.
At the end of the first shareholder meeting since the emissions-cheating scandal erupted, Volkswagen’s top investors showed their support for the management team, regarding their decisions for 2015, despite the fact that the diesel emissions scandal brought Volkswagen its biggest ever operating loss. The backing up from shareholders of the top management’s actions for the previous financial year is common and just a formal practice for German companies, but the vote on Wednesday showed that nothing really changed within Europe’s biggest automaker.
Hans Dieter Poetsch, Volkswagen’s chairman and also head of the Porsche-Piech family’s holding company, former CEO Martin Winterkorn, the current head Matthias Mueller and brand chief Herbert Diess were each cleared by more than 97 percent of voting shareholders, according to Reuters.
The German state of Lower Saxony, the second biggest shareholder in Volkswagen AG by voting rights with a 20 percent stake, which has been loud and harsh towards the automaker since the beginning of the emissions scandal, abstained from ratifying their actions. “During the current proceedings, Lower Saxony doesn’t want to give the slightest impression that it positions itself in any way,” the German state said in a statement. “That is solely the matter of prosecutors and potentially later the courts.”
The German prosecutors have opened this week an investigation targeting Winterkorn and Diess for manipulating the markets by not disclosing earlier in the game the financial implications of the emissions cheating scheme.
Shareholders also ratified a proposal by both boards to cut the 2015 dividend to 0.11 euro per ordinary share and 0.17 euro per preferred share, from 4.80 euros and 4.86 euros, respectively, for 2014.