NOxious #dieselgate emissions have decimated rows of Volkswagen managers. Now, the deadly diesel discharges are beginning to poison careers of top managers at Audi. After Monday’s revelation that Audi-developed 3 liter diesels also contain cheater-software, Audi’s CEO Rupert Stadler has come under intensive fire. Volkswagen chief Matthias Müller is livid, Volkswagen’s hallway radio says. Müller trusted Stadler’s solemn vow that Audi is clean, and he looks like a liar. Stadler doesn’t think of stepping down, German media says, but the hallway radio already has a candidate for Stadler’s throne.
On Monday, 1,000 managers were assembled in Wolfsburg to finally get some good news. Müller told them that the rework of 10 million diesel cars is less complex than thought, and that Volkswagen has a grip on the matter. Then came Audi’s admission, and any positive vibes of Müller’s good news were immediately nixed and neutralized. No wonder that Müller is unhappy.
Müller may have been blindsided by Audi’s diesel-disclosure, the attentive reader of the Dailykanban was not. A month ago, Volkswagen’s ever so vigilant hallway radio recommended to ask why “Stadler is still around,” after scores of Volkswagen execs had gone exit left, and did he really have no clue? The answer took a while, but yesterday, a member of Volkswagen’s Supervisory Board told Germany’s Focus:
“If Stadler knew, his position is basically untenable.”
Audi denies any rumors of Stadler’s imminent demise, but the hallway radio already has identified a successor. According to Volkswagen’s rumor mill, Dietmar Voggenreiter has the best chances to lead Audi, should Stadler fall. The trained bean counter Voggenreiter just took over as sales chief of Audi, after leading the brand’s China business for nine years.
Intrigue-loving voices on the hallway radio opine that that a rivalry between Stadler and Müller is the backstory of Audi’s surprise revelation. Stadler was the top candidate for Winterkorn’s CEO job for when WiKo would take over the supervisory board chairmanship. Dieselgate ruined that career path, and Müller took over. Depending on who you listen to on the Hallway Radio, either Müller is taking advantage of the moment’s disfavor to get rid of Stadler, or Stadler tries to torpedo Müller. To make the intrigue even more intriguing, both Müller and Stadler are said to be Piech favorites.
Müller’s ship is likewise listing, says the Hallway Radio. The incriminated 3 liter diesel mills are also used in Porsche Cayenne, and according to the prevailing “if he knew, he has to go, if he didn’t, he’s unfit for the job” logic, former Porsche head Müller also would have to pack up and leave, something the hallway radio predicted earlier in the month.
Then, there are the voices that say that Müller and Stadler are safe, not because they are innocent, but because no successor can be found. The clear-cutting of Volkswagen’s management ranks is underway with a vengeance, and it is becoming increasingly impossible to identify a manager free of suspicions of defeat device awareness.
Standard disclaimer: Hallway radio reports reflect the current buzz of Volkswagen’s internal rumor mill, and as such the reports are not always correct. No responsibility is taken for the correctness of this information. However, the radio has a very high batting average, so far, at least.