He's been Audi CEO since 2007. What did he know?
Although Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler has been in the news more recently due to its own controversy surrounding alleged illegal diesel software, the Volkswagen Group still can’t shake off Dieselgate completely. According to Reuters, current Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has been named as a suspect in a German probe regarding fraud and false advertising. Just this past Monday, German prosecutors searched Stadler’s home for potential evidence. Those prosecutors are also investigating 20 additional suspects.
“Since May 30, 2018 the chairman of the board of Audi AG Prof. Rupert Stadler as well as a further member of the management board are now named suspects,” the Munich prosecutor’s office said. Stadler, along with one other suspect whose home was also searched, are specifically being investigated for their alleged roles in bringing cars to the European market equipped with illegal defeat software. Stadler has been Audi CEO since 2007. The discovery of the defeat devices was exposed in September 2015 and Audi admitted to using that software only two months later, so it makes sense Stadler is being suspected of involvement to some degree.
Despite this, Audi’s supervisory board recommended to shareholders last March to whole heartedly endorse Stadler as CEO – just as German prosecutors had begun to raid Audi’s headquarters in search of evidence of a cover-up. Obviously Stadler is innocent until proven guilty, but considering the length of time he’s served as Audi CEO and the fact the brand’s popular 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine has since been deemed illegal in the US, definitely raises suspicion against him. The simple question is what did he know and, if anything, for how long? It’ll be very interesting to see whether those prosecutors uncover anything dirty, aside from diesel fumes.