Three Audi board members face dismissal, report says

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FRANKFURT — Audi is considering dismissing three management board members as a warning to CEO Rupert Stadler, Handelsblatt reported.

Sales and marketing chief Dietmar Voggenreiter, finance chief Axel Strotbek and personnel boss Thomas Sigi could be be removed from office, according to the German financial daily.

Stadler will retain his post thanks to support from the Porsche and Piech families who control Audi parent Volkswagen Group, but he could be removed next year, the newspaper said in a report Friday.

Audi will discuss the changes at its board meeting on Sept. 29, Handelsblatt said.

Audi said speculation about a possible removal of Stadler is “false,” adding that he had been appointed for a further five years in May. It did not comment on other possible boardroom changes.

Stadler has been Audi CEO for more than 10 years. His handling of Audi’s part in VW Group’s emissions-cheating has been under heavy fire since March when German investigators raided Audi offices in connection with the diesel scandal.

Audi is also far from Stadler’s one-time goal to be the global leader in luxury car sales by 2020. Its first-half global vehicle sales fell 4.7 percent to 908,950, behind No. 2 BMW brand, whose volume was 1.04 million, up 5.2 percent, and Mercedes brand, whose sales increased 14 percent to 1.14 million.

Audi’s sales in China, its largest market, fell 12 percent in the first half after the brand decided to explore setting up a second joint venture with SAIC, triggering a revolt by FAW-Volkswagen/Audi dealers.

On Friday, Audi said it will recall up to 850,000 diesel cars to update vehicle software controlling emissions.

You can reach Christiaan Hetzner at christiaan.hetzner@gmail.com.


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