Scandal-hit VW's ex-CEO Martin Winterkorn may get $68 mln in payouts

WEB_PHOTO_MARTIN_WINTERKORN_24_09_2015

VW CEO Martin Winterkorn stands at the VW booth at the world's largest industrial technology fair, the Hannover Messe, in Hanover, 13 April 2015. Winterkorn resigned on 23 September 2015, taking responsibility for VW's rigging of US emissions tests.

VW CEO Martin Winterkorn stands at the VW booth at the world's largest industrial technology fair, the Hannover Messe, in Hanover, 13 April 2015. Winterkorn resigned on 23 September 2015, taking responsibility for VW's rigging of US emissions tests.

BERLIN - Martin Winterkorn may have resigned from the chief executive job at Volkswagen in ignominious circumstances as a pollution cheating storm engulfs the company, but he can still hope to get $68 million in payout, according to company regulations.

The group based in northern Germany&39;s Wolfsburg declined comment on the subject when contacted by AFP.

But according to last year&39;s annual report, the company has set aside $32 million for the retirement of its former chief. And that is a sum that Winterkorn is entitled to get.

Added to that is a possible payout for "early termination" of contract, which is worth "a maximum of two years&39; remuneration".

Winterkorn drew a salary of $18.6 million in 2014, and $16.8 million in 2013, according to the company&39;s last two annual reports.

Two years&39; salary would therefore amount to more than $34.8 million for the man who has been the Germany&39;s highest paid executive.

If he obtains the early termination payout, that means the 68-year-old stands to draw a total of around $68 million after his departure from the company.

It is nevertheless uncertain whether he will get the full sum as "no severance payment is made if membership of the board of management is terminated for a reason for which the board of management member is responsible".

In a statement issued to announce his resignation, Winterkorn said that he accepted his "responsibility for the irregularities that have been found in diesel engines," but insisted "I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part."

But the steering committee of the group&39;s supervisory board expressly said in its own separate statement that Winterkorn "had no knowledge of the manipulation of emissions data."