Volkswagen Shareholders Vent Anger at Chairman

Volkswagen’s minority shareholders vented their anger at the German carmaker’s leadership over the diesel emissions scandal on Wednesday, and demanded reform of its supervisory board. Nine months after Volkswagen admitted to equipping up to 11m diesel cars with defeat devices that understated harmful emissions in official tests, VW’s directors and senior management stood before more than 3,000 investors at the company’s annual meeting. Several shareholders called for a shake-up of the supervisory board, so that it included more independent directors to hold management to account. Currently, just one of the 20 member board is considered independent by certain investors and proxy advisers, although VW disputes this. Hans Dieter Pötsch, VW chairman, bore the brunt of investor criticism during the day-long meeting, but he appeared untroubled as one shareholder after another inveighed against his handling of the worst crisis in the company’s history. Among the broadsides levelled against Mr Pötsch were complaints that he should have notified shareholders of the scandal weeks before VW did, on September 22 — four days after US regulators revealed the wrongdoing.

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