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Volkswagen's Three Ring Mess

Arguing, yelling, and trying to remove someone. A recent sports event? Nope, these were some the highlights of the recent Volkswagen shareholders meeting this week.
Posted: June 23, 2016 - 10:17AM
Author: Will Maley


Bloomberg reports shareholders expressed anger and dissatisfaction over how the German automaker handled the diesel emission scandal. Most of the anger was aimed at Volkswagen AG Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch as many shareholders had reservations of having him oversee the cleanup of the mess that happened when he was Volkswagen's CFO.

“You are a conflict of interest personified,” said Markus Dufner, managing director of the German Association of Ethical Shareholders.

“The crisis is a crisis of trust. Customers’ trust has been lost and needs to be won back, and so must the trust of investors,” said Gerd Kuhlmeyer, who represents a coalition of employee shareholders.

Shareholders tried to remove Poetsch twice from leading the meeting. Both attempts failed.

Bad News Leading Up to the Meeting

It didn't help that Volkswagen was hit with a number of bad news stories over the past week. Last week, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer gave Volkswagen and the U.S. Government an extension from June 22nd to the 28th to finish up discussions on an agreement.

Then on Monday, Reuters reported that the German prosecutors have opened an investigation into former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn and an unidentified executive for possible market manipulation by pushing back the date to releasing information about the diesel emission scandal. It would be revealed later that the 'unidentified executive' was Volkswagen's brand chief, Herbert Diess.

A day later, it was revealed that Germany's financial watchdog, Bafin, filed a complaint with the German prosecutor office saying they should investigate the former management board. The reason? Finding out why it took so long for the management board to disclose the scandal.

Pic Credit: Volkswagen AG