Audi appoints new chairman, development boss to bounce back from scandal
MUNCHEN -- Audi's supervisory board made Volkswagen Team CEO Matthias Mueller as chairperson to to displace Martin Winterkorn and Stefan Knirsch as advancement leader to succeed Ulrich Hackenberg.
Hackenberg was suspended two months ago jointly with two other executives carefully linked to the improvement of the diesel-engine in the middle of VW Group's emissions rigging scandal.
Hackenberg has left the firm by "reciprocal understanding," Audi said in a statement released following a supervisory board meeting Thursday. Knirsch, who's now head of motor development, will consider Hackenberg's job on Jan. 1, Audi stated in a different statement.
Hackenberg, 65, was suspended by Audi's parent, VW Team, in September, along with VW brand r&d chef Heinz-Jakob Neusser and Porsche advancement head Wolfgang Hatz.
The suspensions came after VW Team disclosed that 1 1 million automobiles fitted with 1.2-, 1.6- and 2.0-liter diesel engines from its E A 189 family and marketed world-wide by the Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat manufacturers had rigged applications. The three executives denied they knew something concerning the cheat program, reports said at that time.
In another development, Audi disclosed two months ago that its 3.0-liter V6 diesel-engine was fitted with emissions-management applications deemed as prohibited in the U.S. The V6 diesel was developed and constructed by Audi at its manufacturing plant in Neckarsulm, Germany, and employed in about 85,000 superior versions sold by the Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche manufacturers in model-years 2009 through 2016.
Hackenberg was a crucial player in VW Team merchandise strategy for over a quarter-century. He created the auto-maker modular platform method, first at Audi, then after expanding the program to underpin versions at VW Group brands. "He'd that thought already in the early 1990s at Audi. Today, the whole Group gains from it," Mueller said in a statement.
Mueller was named chairperson of Audi's supervisory board on Thursday to to displace Winterkorn who stepped down as Audi chairman last month, further scaling again his ties with VW Team after he step down as Chief Executive Officer of VW Team in September.
The Audi board additionally decided Julia Kuhn Piech and Josef Ahorner, in the households that command Volkswagen, as new board members to change former VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech and his wife Ursula, who stepped down earlier in 2013.
Hackenberg, imagined, was the daddy of VW Group's modular platform program.
Hackenberg joined Audi in 1985 and held numerous places within VW Team throughout his profession. He was head of VW brand improvement from 2007 to 2013.
His successor, Knirsch, 49, h-AS directed powertrain advancement at Audi since late 2013. Throughout the interval when Volkswagen's discharges rigging occurred, Knirsch worked for Porsche and then German provider Pierburg.
Knirsch's appointment comes as a sur-prise because Audi in June stated he was leaving the business at his own request.
AUDI Chief Executive under pressure
U.S. law-firm Jones Day, which has been directing outside investigations of the scandal at Volkswagen, has also been tasked to get rid of the exploitation at Audi. "The probe is making progress," Audi Deputy Chairman Berthold Huber stated. "That's an essential and great signal."
Audi Chief Executive Officer Rupert Stadler is under strain after his institution's entry to U.S regulators earlier this month that its 3.0-liter diesel-engine broken U.S. climate regulations.
After being questioned by the Audi board on Thursday, Stadler will also be required to convince VW Team 20-member commanding panel in a meeting on Dec. 9 to discuss the state-of investigations. Audi puts up 40% to VW Group's net income. Stadler, A - 25-yr VW Team veteran, has directed Audi for nine years.
"We pushed for actions in the interest of employees and and that is precisely what is occurring now," Audi job manager Peter Mosch, an associate of the supervisory board stated. "Additional results should be drawn now to make sure this will not occur again."
Volkswagen intends to release intermediate results of its own probe to the scandal next week.
Christiaan Hetzner, Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report
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