Volkswagen named Bram Schot as interim chief at its Audi unit, selecting the luxury brand’s sales chief to replace longtime leader Rupert Stadler following his arrest Monday over his role in VW’s diesel-emissions cheating.
The decision, following two days of crisis discussions at Volkswagen’s board, elevates an executive so far untainted by the slow-motion scandal that continues to burn almost three years after the company admitted to rigging emissions test. Mr Stadler, who remains in jail pending testimony he’s scheduled to give this week, asked to be temporarily relieved of his duties, Audi said Tuesday.
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The manner of Mr Stadler’s suspension, and Volkswagen’s backing the executive for months while he’s been operating under a cloud, suggest the company is making little headway drawing a line under a crisis after pledging to reform its culture. Based on an intercepted conversation, prosecutors sought his arrest after concluding he tried to influence witnesses, a person familiar with the situation said earlier.
“This release applies temporarily, until the circumstances that led to his arrest have been clarified,” Audi said.
Mr Schot, 56, joined the parent organisation from Daimler in 2011 and has held roles in its commercial vehicles unit. The executive, who heads Audi’s sales and marketing, was named to Audi’s management board last year, long after the scandal erupted.