Upon stepping down yesterday amidst a growing emissions cheating scandal, Volkswagen CEO Dr. Martin Winterkorn likely collected $32 million (28.6 million euros) in pension and could get many millions more.
Regarding the in-question balance is whether Wintorkorn, 68, will also be compensated two year’s “remuneration.” His annual compensation as VW head and majority shareholder in Porsche SE was $18.6 million (16.6 million euros).
Up in the air therefore is how many millions more this could amount to.
A company spokesman declined to confirm exactly how much he could get, and the actual figure will be determined by the company’s board which could withhold compensation depending on circumstances it deems surround his exit.
According to Bloomberg, it appears he left in good standing, and it was Winterkorn who requested the board terminate his job. He was highly praised upon exiting.
The outgoing chief executive did ceremoniously accept responsibility for the emissions cheating, but officially the board cleared him saying Winterkorn “had no knowledge of the manipulation of emissions data.”
“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,” he said. “I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part.”
Winterkorn had been with the company since 2007 where he oversaw a turnaround leading the automaker to exceed top-ranked Toyota earlier this year for global number one.
The company is now feverously working to do damage control to its reputation and stock valuation which lost close to $26 billion Monday and Tuesday.
Unknown yet is how it will make legal up to 11 million four-cylinder diesel engines sold in various markets including 482,000 in the U.S. These possess software the company engineered to let them pass emissions testing, then resort to a different mode once on the road. Most severe is NOx emissions which could increase by 10-40 percent U.S, legal limits.
Winterkorn said a change of leadership would help restore the company he deeply admires and cares for.
As part of what could be two payouts totaling tens of millions following the biggest scandal in recent automotive history, Winterkorn is also entitled to a free company car for the years the benefit is being paid.