It was recently made public that former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was arrested on counts of fraud, surrounding the infamous diesel scandal. Since then, Audi has named an interim CEO in Brad Schot, Audi’s sales chief. Currently, Stadler is out as he tries to clear his name and go through his trial process. However, even if he does clear his name, it’s not certain he will return as Audi’s CEO.
According to Automotive News, the Volkswagen Supervisory Board isn’t too keen on bringing him back. “The expectation is that Stadler cannot return to his post. You have to be careful, because it’s not so easy due to German labor laws, but he needs to concentrate on his legal defense right now and clearing his name,” said one of AN’s sources close to the VW board.
German prosecutors believe Stadler gave false testimony and committed fraud by lying about his knowledge of the diesel emissions scandal. This has tainted Stadler’s resume, even if he’s not proven guilty. According to another AN source,“It’s just not conceivable any more [Stadler coming back as CEO], it wouldn’t work.”
With Audi’s new emphasis on speed and efficiency, within the brand itself, Schot could retain his CEO position on a permanent basis. “If Bram Schot does his job well, he has a chance to be the permanent successor. He has all the abilities he needs to act and Schot isn’t postponing anything, he’s making decisions – de facto he’s the CEO.” said another source close to AN.
Another source said. “If he does a great job in the next two to three months and really recommends himself for the position, then you cannot all of a sudden tell him he now has to go. It’s like in sports: when an interim coach takes over and performs well, he stays.”
This quick turn on Stadler happened in the blink of an eye. Just a few weeks ago, he was seen as the steady rock of the brand, as he seemed untouchable in the diesel scandal. He also seemed to calmly right the ship and help get Audi back on track during his time there. So it’s a rather interesting turn of evens.