Earlier this month, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was taken into custody by German prosecutors over concerns about evidence tampering. He is expected to be in jail for another week as investigators will conduct interviews about the diesel emission scandal. Whether or not he is released on bail remains to be seen, but sources tell Automotive News Europe that Stadler will likely not return as Audi's CEO.
"The expectation is that Stadler cannot return to his post. You have to be careful, because it's not so easy due to German labor laws, but he needs to concentrate on his legal defense right now and clearing his name," said a source close to Volkswagen Group's supervisory board.
The board has been protecting Stadler for some time, but a change in think on the board now see him as 'damaged goods'. According to sources, the last thing Audi needs is a CEO that is implicated in the diesel emission scandal returning to said position. It is hoped that when Stadler is released, he will step down as CEO. It would avoid the embarrassment of the company having to fire him.
Who could take Stadler's place? Some believe it could be Bram Schot, Audi's sales chief who was named interim CEO. Sources reveal that Schot isn't acting like a caretaker CEO. A key example was the decision to cancel the media launch of the e-tron in Brussels in August, to the U.S. on a yet to be revealed date.
"If Bram Schot does his job well, he has a chance to be the permanent successor. He has all the abilities he needs to act and Schot isn't postponing anything, he's making decisions -- de facto he's the CEO," said a source.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)