In a week that saw the conviction of a former chief executive of a mining company for safety violations upheld, another former chief executive of Volkswagen AG says that he had no advanced knowledge the emissions cheating scandal at his company. Martin Winterkorn, the former Volkswagen AG CEO apologized for violating the trust of his customers but also said that he was not in the loop with regard to the environmental violations.
“It’s incomprehensible why I wasn’t informed early and clearly,” Winterkorn, 69, said in testimony before a parliamentary committee in Berlin, as reported in Industry Week. “I would have prevented any type of deception or misleading of authorities.” The story adds that the former exec said he was not a software engineer and thus didn’t have the skill set to make any demands on those who chose to skirt the law.
However, Industry Week points out that he was “detailed obsessed” and had been known to hold employees accountable for even minor offenses. The scandal involved 11 million cars worldwide and eventually cost his company nearly $22 billion.
Six senior executives in the United States have been indicted as a result of the debacle. Still, Industry Week says it is unclear just how much, if anything, that Winterkorn knew. In an earlier statement, he said that the scandal was limited just the United States while also citing his right to say anything further about the matter.
He resigned in September 2015, saying he was “endlessly sorry.” That is at the same time that US regulators made public that the automaker had installed software inside of its cars to falsify emissions readings.