VW’s emissions-related scandal proved to be too big for CEO Martin Winterkorn, who has just announced his resignation.
Martin Winterkorn took responsibility for the rigging of US emissions tests and made the decision to step out as CEO – although he says he is not aware “of any wrong doing on my part.”
Here’s the entire statement posted on VW’s media website:
“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.”
The statement comes less than a day after VW Group issued a video apology from Martin Winterkorn in relation to the manipulation of emissions results on diesel-powered models. Apparently, that was not enough.
More had to be done in the wake of the scandal which drove down VW shares by 30 percent and the resignation may be a sign for the markets that the company is committed to right the wrong.
But bad news continues for VW. After the company admitted that some 11 million vehicles sold worldwide are fitted with the so-called “defeat device”, German prosecutors opened an investigation into the manipulation of vehicle emission test results.
France’s Energy Minister Segolene Royal said her country would be “extremely severe” if its investigation into VW found any wrongdoing.
In the United States, authorities are planning criminal investigations after discovering that VW used a software in its diesel-powered cars which concealed true emissions when the cars were being tested.