Well, this shouldn't be much of a surprise: Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen Group, has announced his resignation in the wake of VW's ongoing crisis over its EPA-cheating TDI vehicles. Winterkorn has served as CEO since 2007.
"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."
Winterkorn, who did not hint at stepping down in a video statement posted yesterday, has had a rocky week: VW Group admitted yesterday that the TDI cheat, originally estimated as affecting 500,000 cars in the U.S. market, could be present in up to 11 million cars worldwide. The automaker has issued stop-sale orders on all 2.0-liter TDI-powered VW and Audi models, and is offering some financial assistance to U.S. VW dealers stuck with diesel vehicles they cannot sell.
VW Group interim chairman , "Mr. Winterkorn has worked hard for VW and we would like to thank him for his efforts over the past 10 years, and also for his willingness to take responsibility in this most difficult of situations [. . . ] To avoid speculation, I would like to say that we will talk about his successor on Friday at the earliest."
The Executive Committee of VW Group's Supervisory Board thanking Winterkorn for his service and reiterating the ousted CEO's claim that he was not aware of the emissions cheat. "The Executive Committee is expecting further personnel consequences in the next days," . "All participants in these proceedings that has resulted in unmeasurable harm for Volkswagen, will be subject to the full consequences."
The statement goes on to note that the Executive Committee has voluntarily submitted a complaint to the State Prosecutors' Office, noting that "criminal proceedings may be relevant due to the irregularities."
Rumor has it that Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller could be named as Winterkorn's replacement.