Before quitting his role as CEO of Volkswagen because of the brand’s recent diesel emissions scandal, Martin Winterkorn has gained during his 8 years as head of the German brand a pension worth $32 million, and he could get even more money in severance depending on how his exit gets classified by the supervisory board.
Winterkorn announced yesterday that he had asked the board to end his position, with the company’s spokesman Claus-Peter Tiemann not commenting on the money amount the former VW CEO would get. The German automaker’s annual report indicates that Winterkorn could receive two major payouts. While Winterkorn’s pension is valued at $32 million taking into account the last month of 2014, he might collect severance payment summing up two years of salary.
Last year, he was the second highest paid chief in Germany with a total of $18.5 million from the company and the majority shareholder Porsche. Even if the severance package is to be implemented if the supervisory board ends his contract, there is another aspect to be taken into account. If this termination of employment is to be attributed to something Winterkorn is found responsible of, the severance will be forgotten.
The executive committee of the supervisory board stated on Wednesday that Winterkorn did not have any knowledge of the manipulation of emissions data and respected his decision to leave the company. The committee also showed its gratitude for his contributions to Volkswagen. Winterkorn has publicly apologized for the scandal that the German carmaker is in at the moment, but expressed him not knowing that the automaker had cheated in the tests of diesel emissions with the U.S. regulators since 2009.