Volkswagen’s supervisory board will meet on Monday to map out the future of Rupert Stadler, the suspended chief executive of its Audi brand. German outlet Der Spiegel reported on Friday that VW intends to decide whether or not Stadler, who has been in police custody since mid-June as part of a broader probe into the company’s diesel cheating fiasco, should resign his post.
Officially, the automaker’s position on the matter is that the CEO is innocent until convicted of criminal wrongdoing. But having him in the crosshairs of the media and investigators isn’t great PR for the company.
According to Reuters, there is a chance the supervisory board meeting was scheduled to discuss further steps towards a possible listing of VW’s truck and bus subsidiary and has nothing to do with Stadler. However, sources close to the company give conflicting accounts. Most seem to believe Stadler will at least be a major topic during Monday’s meeting.
Sales executive Bram Schot is acting as Stadler’s replacement at Audi while the suspended CEO remains incarcerated in Augsburg, Germany. Last month, his appeal for release was rejected by a Munich appeals court. Interestingly, no formal charges have been brought against the auto executive, though he remains a central figure in the ongoing emissions cheating investigation and has been deemed a flight risk by authorities.
BMW’s former director of purchasing Markus Duesmann was rumored to become Stadler’s full-time replacement at the start of 2019. If VW Group decides to force him to relinquish his role at Audi on Monday, that timeline could be moved up. However, the company will have to find away around the competitive exclusion clause in Duesmann’s contract with BMW. That little line of text is supposed to keep him out of the arms of another automaker until fall of next year.