VW Board Prepares to Decide Jailed Audi CEO's Fate
Volkswagen’s supervisory board will meet on Monday to map out the future of Rupert Stadler, the suspended chief executive of its Audi brand. German outlet Der Spiegel reported on Friday that VW intends to decide whether or not Stadler, who has been in police custody since mid-June as part of a broader probe into the company’s diesel cheating fiasco, should resign his post.
Officially, the automaker’s position on the matter is that the CEO is innocent until convicted of criminal wrongdoing. But having him in the crosshairs of the media and investigators isn’t great PR for the company.
According to Reuters, there is a chance the supervisory board meeting was scheduled to discuss further steps towards a possible listing of VW’s truck and bus subsidiary and has nothing to do with Stadler. However, sources close to the company give conflicting accounts. Most seem to believe Stadler will at least be a major topic during Monday’s meeting.
Sales executive Bram Schot is acting as Stadler’s replacement at Audi while the suspended CEO remains incarcerated in Augsburg, Germany. Last month, his appeal for release was rejected by a Munich appeals court. Interestingly, no formal charges have been brought against the auto executive, though he remains a central figure in the ongoing emissions cheating investigation and has been deemed a flight risk by authorities.
BMW’s former director of purchasing Markus Duesmann was rumored to become Stadler’s full-time replacement at the start of 2019. If VW Group decides to force him to relinquish his role at Audi on Monday, that timeline could be moved up. However, the company will have to find away around the competitive exclusion clause in Duesmann’s contract with BMW. That little line of text is supposed to keep him out of the arms of another automaker until fall of next year.
A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.
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