Audi chairman Rupert Stadler has resigned his position within the Volkswagen Group. The 55-year-old executive and the Ingolstadt-based German automaker have parted ways with immediate effect, according to a statement released by the company. The main reason for Stadler’s departure is his ongoing pretrial detention as part of the investigation into the diesel-emissions scandal—a state of affairs that, according to the press release, does not allow him to carry out his duties as a member of the board of Audi any longer. Instead, he will concentrate his time and effort on defending himself in court, and while the decision to separate was apparently mutual, much of his severance pay seems to depend on the outcome of the criminal case.
The termination agreement between Stadler and his now ex-employer had been drawn up a while ago, but the supervisory board seemed to take some time to have it checked by their in-house legal experts. Stadler’s contract had been extended for five years not too long ago, potentially handing him a huge golden parachute if kicked out early. It seems, however, as if most future claims to a big payout have been relinquished with the signing of the severance paperwork. He is said to only be due a lump sum of less than €1 million now, with any further amounts payable under his original contract of employment being tied to the court case ending with no criminal conviction.
The main reason for Stadler’s departure is his ongoing pretrial detention as part of the investigation into the diesel-emissions scandal
Stadler has been sitting in jail since June, after Munich prosecutors voiced concerns that the high-flying executive, who has worked for the Volkswagen empire since 1990, could influence witnesses in the ongoing investigation. He continues to deny the allegation and remains the highest-ranking Volkswagen executive to be arrested in connection with the “Dieselgate” emissions scandal that erupted in 2015. A return to the company looks extremely unlikely, even if he is found not guilty in court.