Why did Martin Winterkorn resign as CEO of Volkswagen?
The scandal that has broken surrounding Volkswagen's rigging of automobiles to "fool" regulatory testing of emissions, has shaken confidence in the company and let down its customers. Volkswagen, the largest car company in the world, stands accused of using illegal means ("defeat device") via software to cheat on emissions tests, facilitating false readings of low emissions only during the tests themselves. This car emissions scandal affects 11 million diesel vehicles globally.
In response to the scandal, CEO Martin Winterkorn has resigned, requesting termination of his position as CEO of the Volkswagen Group from the Supervisory Board of the company. While Winterkorn has declared that he takes responsibility for the "irregularities" in the diesel engines, he states that he is "stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible" and "unaware of any wrong doing" on his part.
Winterkorn, who is 68 years old and has been CEO of the company since 2007, had recently had his CEO contract extended until 2018. The company's former chairman, Ferdinand Piech, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, the inventor of the Volkswagen Beetle, attempted to expel Winterkorn from his CEO position early in 2015, but Piech himself was forced to resign in April.
The executive board of Volkswagen has announced that it will present recommendations for Winterkorn's successor at its upcoming meeting of its supervisory board.
The Executive Committee is so far expressing complete support of Dr. Winterkorn, stating that they have "great respect" for his offer of resignation. They stand by his declaration that he "had no knowledge of the manipulation of emissions data" and express "respect for his willingness to nevertheless assume responsibility."
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