Audi's Stadler Out as CEO, but Perhaps Only Temporarily
An emergency board meeting held in the wake of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler’s Monday arrest led to the chief executive’s suspension from the company. It was Stadler’s idea, apparently.
As the former CEO cools his heels in a Munich jail, held on suspicion of fraud and evidence suppression related to Volkswagen Group’s diesel emissions scandal, the automaker’s board named sales and marketing chief Abraham Schot as interim CEO. Whether or not Stadler returns to his former post depends on his innocence.
“On Tuesday, the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft accepted the request of member of the Group Board of Management Rupert Stadler to release him from his duties as member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG,” the automaker said in a statement.
“The release is a temporary measure, put in place until the circumstances surrounding Stadler’s arrest have been clarified.”
A Munich judge ordered Stadler held in custody yesterday, declaring that the former top dog at Audi posed a flight risk. He should face questioning by Wednesday.
“The accused was brought before the investigating judge, who ordered the execution of the pre-trial detention,” the Munich prosecutor’s office said in a statement to Autocar. “We cannot comment on the substance of our background in the light of the ongoing investigations. For Mr Stadler, the presumption of innocence continues to apply.”
Autocar reports that Stadler will testify this week. The 55-year-old former CEO’s tenure in Audi’s upper ranks overlaps with the conspiracy to fool customers and regulators with rigged diesel engines. While Stadler maintains his innocence, German media reports claim the testimony of former Audi officials led to his arrest. The former CEO was named a suspect in the investigation earlier this month.
As the legal drama plays out, VW claims Schot will “be invited to participate in the meetings of the Group Board of Management as a guest.”
[Image: Audi AG]
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