Volkswagen CEO Resigns Over Emissions Scandal

He is "stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible"

Martin Winterkorn, Former CEO Of Volkswagen

Martin Winterkorn, Former CEO Of Volkswagen

Volkswagen Sweden, via Wikimedia Commons

Today Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned today, following a scandal that broke late last week over emissions testing. His statement published online reads:

“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 scandal concerned vehicle emissions. While Volkswagen promised "clean diesel," several models of Golf, Jetta, Beetles, and Audis produced between 2009 and 2015 included software that kicked in during emissions testing to produce results up to EPA standards, then allowed 40 times the EPA limit of NOx from diesel when the cars were finished with testing and on the roads. Up to 11 million Volkswagens had this cheating mechanism installed, and the company has set aside over $7 billion for damages. Cheaters who get away with it undermine real technological innovations that could both deliver performance and meet emissions standards. With Volkswagen's CEO stepping down, it's the first step in a likely long process of accountability. It probably won't be the last.