By on October 2, 2018

Image: Audi AG

Rupert Stadler, now former CEO of Audi, saw his contract with Volkswagen Group terminated on Tuesday, thus allowing the automaker to distance itself from a PR-squashing reminder of its disastrous diesel emissions fiasco.

Serving as Audi AG’s CEO since 2010, Stadler’s June arrest on suspicion of interference in an ongoing German fraud investigation pushed an interim CEO into the top chair. It was the highest profile arrest thus far in the diesel emissions scandal. As investigators continue probing his potential involvement in the diesel fraud, the jailed Stadler also gives up his seat on VW’s management board, effective immediately.

VW Group announced Stadler’s departure in a Tuesday release:

The supervisory boards of Volkswagen AG and AUDI AG have today consented to the conclusion of an agreement with Rupert Stadler on the termination of his offices as a member of the board of management of Volkswagen AG and chairman of the board of management of AUDI AG as well as of his service agreements. Mr. Stadler is leaving the companies with immediate effect and will no longer work for the Volkswagen Group. Mr. Stadler is doing so because, due to his ongoing pretrial detention, he is unable to fulfil his duties as a member of the board of management and wishes to concentrate on his defence.

Sales executive Bram Schot will continue serving as acting CEO until a replacement can be found.

With Stadler’s departure, another figure from the Dieselgate era vanishes from the company. VW CEO Martin Winterkorn stepped down days after the Environmental Protection Agency blew the lid off the scandal in September 2015. The U.S. later indicted him on felony charges of conspiracy and wire fraud, though he remains a free man in Germany. An investigation continues on that front.

Winterkorn’s successor, Matthias Müller, found himself ousted by the VW board in April of this year and soon became the target of an expanded German investigation.

Several reports have speculated on the hefty windfall that might greet Stadler in his sudden retirement, but VW claims the severance pay (Stadler’s contract was to run out in 2023), carries an asterisk.

“The contractual execution depends on the course and outcome of the criminal proceedings,” VW stated.

[Image: Audi AG]

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