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VW's ousted CEO could walk away with $69 million

Published by Business Insider on Thu, 24 Sep 2015

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn resignedWednesday amid revelations that the company falsified emissions results for11 million cars worldwide.Although Winterkorn is no longer with with the company he led for nearly a decade, he couldstill get a sizable checkas much as $69 million, depending on how Volkswagen's board classifies his departure, according to Bloomberg News.According to Bloomberg's Anders Melin, the former chief executive could get two separate payments from Volkswagen.First, Winterkorn iseligible for a severance package equal to two years' pay, Bloomberg reported. Last yearheraked in roughly $18.7 million.The severance package istriggered whenWinterkorn's contract is prematurely terminated. However, there's a clawback clause built into his separation agreement, Bloomberg reported, and the severance can bewithheld if he is terminated for cause.Secondly,Winterkorn amassed a pension valued at $32 million at the end of 2014, but it is unclear what his eligibility requirements are for the pension.Overall, the two pots add up to more than $69 million in pension and severance pay.At this point, we don't know if Winterkorn will receive either of the payments, but thus far allreporting indicates that Winterkorn was not fired. Rather, he requested the supervisory board relieve him of his duties.Furthermore, the supervisory board's latest statement seems to absolve him ofculpability in the scandal. Emphasis isaddedby Business Insider:"The Executive Committee notes that Professor Dr. Winterkorn had no knowledge of the manipulation of emissions data," VW's supervisory board said in the statement. "The Executive Committee has tremendous respect for his willingness to nevertheless assume responsibility and, in so doing, to send a strong signal both internally and externally."It's not clear then who Volkswagen will blame for the cheating, which it has admitted to. Reuters reported on Thursday thatVolkswagen willstart firing people on Fridaysomething theVW spokesperson described as speculation.Volkswagen's trouble began last Friday when the US Environmental Protection Agency issued a "Notice of Violation" accusing the company ofusing hidden softwarecalled a "defeat device"to cheatclean-air standards during emissions testing.Initially, the scandal covered 482,000 cars sold in the US from 2009-2015. Later, VW revealed that more than 11 million vehicles equipped with the company's once-praised 2.0 liter TDI diesel engines were affected.The news has already triggered lawsuits, government investigations, and caused the company to ten of billions of dollar in share value this week.Although it is rumored that Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller and current VW executive Herbert Diess are candidates to take Winterkorn's vacated seat, the company has said a successor has not been named.SEE ALSO:VW USA boss: 'We have totally screwed up'Join the conversation about this storyNOW WATCH: Volkswagen faces a possible $18 billion EPA fine for cheating on emissions tests
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