Volkswagen’s former chief executive Martin Winterkorn , who quit in the wake of the massive pollution-cheating scandal, is still on the carmaker’s books and receiving a huge salary, according to two German media reports on Friday.
The business daily Handelsblatt and German public television’s investigative news programme Frontal 21 said Winterkorn’s contract runs until the end of 2016, as agreed, and he is receiving his full salary.
The two reports quoted sources close to VW’s supervisory board.
Winterkorn, 68, was in the driving seat at the auto giant from 2007 until the scandal broke in September.
Under the terms of his salary, he has a basic annual salary of €1.62 million ($1.8 billion), plus a range of generous bonuses.
Winterkorn was paid more than 15 million euros in total in 2014, making him the highest-paid executive among the 30 companies that make up the German blue-chip DAX 30 stock index.
Quoting the sources close to the supervisory board, VW saw “no reason not to continue paying” him, Handelsblatt reported.
That meant Winterkorn would receive more than €10 million for 2015, it said.
Originally, VW had wanted to draw a line under the Winterkorn era, but had not wanted to pay the manager a huge golden payout out of fear of possible public criticism, the newspaper continued.
But Winterkorn, for his part, had refused to forego the money since he regarded himself as innocent, it said.
VW, vying with Toyota to become the world’s biggest carmaker in terms of sales, is currently engulfed in a scandal of global proportions after it admitted to installing pollution-cheating software into 11 million diesel engines worldwide.
Winterkorn resigned in the wake of the allegations, but insisted he knew nothing about the scam.