Volkswagen Group A new beginning is only possible with new managers
The entire VW group is badly managed, fatal alliances prevent genuine education. As long as all are connected, it will go downhill with VW.
It does not happen every day that the incumbent CEO of a € 60 billion corporation must be remanded in custody. Since Rupert Stadler was arrested on Monday morning in Ingolstadt because of blackout by investigators, there is a state of emergency at Audi and the parent company Volkswagen. It is about the future of Germany’s largest industrial enterprise and that of a total of 640,000 employees, of whom 90,000 are at Audi alone. It is also about the reputation of Europe’s largest carmaker, in Germany and on important foreign markets, especially China. Can this loss of credibility be made good in the foreseeable future?
The problem: The responsible persons at VW and Audi are also nearly three years, after the scandal around fake emission values of millions of diesel vehicles became public in September 2015, still driven. You are far from being master of the process. The results of the internal investigations are not published. All that is cleared up is what has already come to light anyway. Not the company itself clarifies the scandal and creates transparency, it is the (judicial) authorities. That’s the real problem with all the mistakes of the past.
Audi boss apparently wanted to proceed against witnesses
In a wiretaped telephone conversation, Rupert Stadler is said to have had a unpopular employee on leave – for the prosecutor an attempt to obstruct the investigation.
The reason for this is that the VW Group lacks good corporate governance and functioning corporate governance. The 200-billion-euro company is run at will (after all, in Herbert diess has now been appointed an external to the CEO). Real enlightenment and determined action, so the impression, is not desired. That showed up again now. The supervisory board also hesitated after the arrest Stadler, did not immediately make a decision, debated for a long time and leave only on the day after Stadler provisionally. Way too late. Actually, the Audi boss, even if he is presumed innocent, would have to be replaced immediately, as the prosecutors began investigations against him and searched his house a week ago.
The members of the VW supervisory board are primarily representatives of the owner families Porsche and Piëch, the state of Lower Saxony, Qatar and employee representatives. Independent and critical inspectors? None. A prime minister who insists on transparency in the supervisory board? Not visible. The trade unionists are also closely linked with the management. All stood too long for Stadler, who, as a former office manager of Ferdinand Piëch, belongs to the closest circle. Hans Dieter Pötsch, who was responsible for finance from 2003 to 2015 at VW’s board of directors, also sits at the top of the VW supervisory board. The man, who became the chief overseer without the actually prescribed cooling phase of two years, should conduct ruthless education, so to speak on his own behalf. That can not work.
Disastrous alliances prevent VW from enlightening
There are quite a few examples of how German companies made their way from deep crises with a fresh start. When Siemens became aware of the corruption crisis, a new chief overseer and a new chief executive were installed, which provided transparency. At Deutsche Bank, Paul Achleitner became Chairman of the Supervisory Board, he tried a fresh start and adjusted, although his final success seems far away. Or Deutsche Post: Nikolaus von Bomhard has assumed the chairmanship of the Supervisory Board, and the Group is tackling important construction sites such as the German mail business.
A real start is possible, if at all, only with new minds, this also applies to Audi and the VW Supervisory Board. Instead, they are fatal alliances that have sprung up over a long period of time, preventing the Enlightenment. Now, after Stadler’s spectacular arrest, something has to change.