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Bayern Munich board members implicated in VW emissions scandal depart

Both Martin Winterkorn and Rupert Stadler have stepped made way for successors, while Uli Hoeness has been re-elected president of the supervisory board for the coming four years.

AUGSBURG, GERMANY - APRIL 07: Martin Winterkorn looks on during the Bundesliga match between FC Augsburg and FC Bayern Muenchen at WWK-Arena on April 7, 2018 in Augsburg, Germany.
Martin Winterkorn
Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images

A reconstituted supervisory board was the result of Bayern Munich AG’s board meeting yesterday. The names of two former Volkswagen and Audi executives implicated in the massive diesel emissions scandal were not among the nine announced by the club after the meeting: Martin Winterkorn and Rupert Stadler.

Martin Winterkorn, the former CEO of Volkswagen, was indicted in the United States this past May on charges of conspiracy and wire fraud for his involvement in the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. If convicted, Winterkorn could face the prospect of 25 years of jail time and a fine of $275,000. US attorney Matthew J. Schneider said of Winterkorn,

Volkswagen deceived American regulators and defrauded American consumers for years. The fact that this criminal conduct was allegedly blessed at Volkswagen’s highest levels is appalling.

Winterkorn, however, will presumably not stand trial in the United States, since he is unlikely to face extradition from Germany. He had remained on Bayern’s supervisory board despite the charges against him, but declined to seek a new term after sixteen years. Hoeness celebrated his friend and thanked him for his service in an official press release.

There was less fanfare surrounding the departure of former Audi CEO and VW board member Rupert Stadler, who was likewise implicated in the diesel emissions scandal and likewise declined to seek a new term on the supervisory board. Stadler remains in custody pending trial for fraud and other charges after his home was raided by authorities in June.

Hoeness had declared his public support for the duo in September, particularly emphasizing his friendship with Winterkorn. He had been photographed with Winterkorn at a Bayern Munich basketball game on the day of his indictment in the US. Winterkorn attended the general assembly on November 30 of this year and informed Hoeness in writing that he would not seek a new term earlier this month.

Since current VW CEO Herbert Diess will take over Stadler’s position, Bayern may maintain its relationship with Audi despite reported interest in a buyout of their shares by Munich-based BMW. Winterkorn’s place will be taken by UniCredit Bank chairman Michael Diederich.

Hoeness reelected president of supervisory board

Hoeness himself was reelected president of the nine-member supervisory board of Bayern Munich AG, the corporate entity that controls the soccer team. It is important to note that this role is distinct from Hoeness’s position as president of Bayern Munich e.V., the registered club that houses all the various Bayern teams and is part owner of Bayern Munich AG.

Hoeness’s term as board president is for four years, through 2022. It thus seems highly likely that he will run again for the presidency of the club in 2019, although it has recently been speculated that he may soon make way for a successor. Oliver Kahn’s name has frequently been mentioned as a potential candidate.

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