Audi CEO may leave early amid ongoing probe of emissions cheating: sources

Source:Reuters Published: 2017/6/4 22:53:39

Embattled Audi Chief Executive Rupert Stadler only got a five-year contract extension last month because of an agreement among supervisory board members that he would not serve out his full term, Reuters reported Sunday, citing two sources close to the company's supervisory board.

How long Stadler will remain in his position remains unclear, the sources said. Stadler's contract was extended on May 17 this year until the end of 2022.

Since his contract was extended, Stadler has come under further pressure after it emerged that Munich prosecutors had widened an investigation into the premium carmaker and after Germany's transport ministry accused Audi of cheating on emissions tests.

Munich prosecutors have been investigating Audi on suspicion of fraud and criminal advertising in the US, where parent Volkswagen's emissions scandal broke in September 2015.

They have expanded the inquiry to include vehicle sales in the brand's home region, a spokesman for prosecutors said earlier this week.

Volkswagen's former Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn came under similar pressure after the diesel emissions cheating scandal broke on September 18, 2015. Despite receiving a contract extension on September 2, 2015, he was out by September 23, 2015.

VW has said that its executive board did not learn of the software violations until late August 2015 and formally reported the cheating to US authorities in early September that year.

Winterkorn has declined to say when he first learned about systematic exhaust emissions cheating but said it was no earlier than VW has officially admitted.

Audi and Volkswagen were not immediately available for comment. Stadler's office had no comment late on Saturday.

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