Volkswagen AG CEO Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn resigned this morning, part of the fallout of the diesel emissions scandal plaguing the automaker.
In a statement, Winterkorn took responsibility for the actions while at the same time denying any knowledge of the deception.
“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,” said Winterkorn. “Volkswagen needs a fresh start – also in terms of personnel. I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation.”
Speculation over Winterkorn’s resignation was high after the scandal, in which the company admitted to putting software on certain diesel-equipped vehicles that would run clean when being tested, but would run dirtier during normal driving.
The cheat affects over 11 million vehicles produced by the Volkswagen group that use the EA189 TDI turbo-diesel engine and is expected to cost the company in the billions of dollars.
The executive committee of the Volkswagen AG supervisory board issued a statement as well, accepting Winterkorn’s resignation and creating a special committee that would oversee the crisis for the company.
In the statement, the executive committee also pledged to cooperate with authorities who are investigating the incident and that the company will “voluntarily submit a complaint to the State Prosecutors’ office in Brunswick.”
The committee also said that there may be additional “personnel consequences” at the next board meeting on Friday. During that meeting, the board will also hear recommendations for new employees.
In the statement, the committee said that “coming to terms with the crisis of trust will be a long term task that requires a high degree of consistency and thoroughness.”
In an editorial, TFLcar’s Roman Mica predicted that Winterkorn would either resign or be fired. Time will tell if the rest of his predictions will come true.
Check out this TFLcar video where Roman and Andre ask five tough questions after the VW diesel scandal: