Volkswagen didn't waste much time finding a new chief executive. Current Porsche boss Matthias Müller will become VW's new CEO, the embattled automaker announced today. Müller's name had been floated in recent days as a potential replacement for Martin Winterkorn, who resigned as CEO in light of Volkswagen's ongoing emissions scandal. "Volkswagen needs a fresh start — also in terms of personnel. I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation," Winterkorn said in a farewell statement. Müller has led Porsche (which is owned by Volkswagen) since 2010.
Müller will also remain at the helm of Porsche until a replacement has been identified, but Volkswagen hasn't given a timetable. "My most urgent task is to win back trust for the Volkswagen Group — by leaving no stone unturned and with maximum transparency, as well as drawing the right conclusions from the current situation. Under my leadership, Volkswagen will do everything it can to develop and implement the most stringent compliance and governance standards in our industry. If we manage to achieve that then the Volkswagen Group with its innovative strength, its strong brands and above all its competent and highly motivated team has the opportunity to emerge from this crisis stronger than before," Müller said in a statement.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has accused Volkswagen of using a "defeat device" to game emissions testing and skirt around air pollution regulations. Volkswagen has since fessed up that the issue affects 11 million vehicles worldwide. The allegations cover models including 2009 to 2015 models of the Jetta, Beetle, Golf, and Audi A3, as well as the 2014 and 2015 Passat. The company is setting aside billions to deal with the scandal's aftermath. Violating the Clean Air Act, which the EPA insists Volkswagen is guilty of doing, could cost $18 billion alone. The US Justice Department has reportedly launched its own criminal investigation into Volkswagen's actions.