As expected, Martin Winterkorn has resigned from his position as Volkswagen CEO. The news comes following a meeting of the executive committee of Volkswagen’s supervisory board, in which Winterkorn was invited to present his case.
It is believed the group met on Tuesday evening, but it was widely predicted that Winterkorn would be forced to resign. According to Bloomberg, “what Winterkorn knew about a scheme intended to dupe regulators and consumers” would have been critical to the discussions. Winterkorn issued an official apology to consumers and Volkswagen workers, but initially refused to step down.
But with pressure mounting, Winterkorn and the board of Volkswagen were left with little option.
Fresh start for Volkswagen
“I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation”, said Winterkorn.
But Winterkorn was quick to claim no wrong doing on his part, saying: “I am shocked by the events of the past few days. Stunned by the misconduct on such a scale possible in the Volkswagen Group.”
Winterkorn: Volkswagen will always be my life
Martin Winterkorn’s resignation statement, in full:
“I am shocked by the events of the past few days. Above all, I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group.
As CEO I accept responsibility for the irregularities that have been found in diesel engines and have therefore requested the Supervisory Board to agree on terminating my function as CEO of the Volkswagen Group. I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrong doing on my part.
Volkswagen needs a fresh start – also in terms of personnel. I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation.
I have always been driven by my desire to serve this company, especially our customers and employees. Volkswagen has been, is and will always be my life.
The process of clarification and transparency must continue. This is the only way to win back trust. I am convinced that the Volkswagen Group and its team will overcome this grave crisis.”
Fall-out set to continue
The fall-out from the emissions cheating scandal is expected to continue. Shares in the beleaguered Group fell by 17% on Monday, dropping a further 19.7% on Tuesday. The net result is one-third being wiped off the company’s value.
It is said that Volkswagen has hired US law firm Kirkland & Ellis to help deal with event. This is the same firm that handled the Deepwater Horizon investigation in 2010.
The Volkswagen board will discuss Winterkorn’s replacement on Friday and further changes in personnel are expected.