TCI Launches Campaign Against Executive Pay At Volkswagen

Europe’s most aggressive activist investor has called for a radical overhaul of executive pay at Volkswagen, arguing “corporate excess on an epic scale” encouraged risk taking that contributed to the diesel emissions scandal. TCI, the hedge fund run by Sir Chris Hohn, has built up a €1.2bn stake in VW and has written to the company’s management and supervisory boards demanding reform of executive remuneration. The German carmaker is reeling from the diesel emissions fraud, the worst crisis in its 79-year history, in which it admitted last September to installing defeat devices in up to 11m diesel powered vehicles that served to understate emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides in official tests. VW reported a €1.6bn net loss for 2015 — its worst ever result, mainly because of costs stemming from the scandal. VW was also criticised by investors after it emerged that members of its management board secured bonuses for last year. Although some remuneration was withheld, 12 current and former board members were paid €63.2m in total for 2015. “The dirty secret of Volkswagen group is that for years management has been richly rewarded with massive compensation despite presiding over a productivity and profit collapse,” Sir Chris told the Financial Times.

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