Volkswagen boss resigns
Martin Winterkorn, the chief executive officer of Volkswagen, has resigned days after admitting the marque rigged emissions to pass US tests. In a statement, he takes responsibility for “irregularities” found in diesel engines, but says he’s unaware of any wrongdoing on his part. “Volkswagen needs a fresh start, also in terms of personnel,” he says. “I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation.” His statement followed a crisis meeting of the company’s supervisory board’s executive committee. Acting chairman Berthold Huber told media moments later that its directors are “resolved to embark with determination on a credible new beginning”. No immediate decision has been made on a new CEO, which is a decision Huber says will be discussed at a board meeting on September 25. Winterkorn says the company must continue providing “clarification and transparency”. He adds: “This is the only way to win back trust. I am convinced the Volkswagen Group and its team will overcome this grave crisis.” Volkswagen shares rose by 8.7 per cent to 121 euros following his decision to go. The share price still has a long way to go to recoup the nearly 25 billion euros – around NZ$44.3b billion – wiped off its market value in the first two days of trading after the US Environmental Protection Agency announced the company has been violating the Clean Air Act. Winterkorn, who has been at the helm since 2007, has come under intense pressure since the disclosure that stealth software makes Volkswagen’s 2009-15 model cars powered by two-litre diesel engines run cleaner during emissions tests than in actual driving. The agency has accused the manufacturer of installing the “defeat device” in 482,000 cars sold in the U.S. Volkswagen then acknowledged similar software exists in 11 million diesel cars worldwide.