VW Cuts Bonuses Amid Diesel Emissions Scandal

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BERLIN — Volkswagen said on Wednesday that its top managers’ bonuses would be cut significantly, citing the need to send “a signal” on executive pay after the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal.

The company, which has not yet released earnings figures for 2015, said in a statement that “different models, which would constitute a reasonable and fair solution for all parties involved,” were being discussed.

“As a consequence, this would lead to a significant reduction of the variable remuneration,” Volkswagen said.

The reduced bonuses, for 2015, would apply to the management board, the chief executive.

The supervisory board, which is the German equivalent of a board of directors, would not be affected, the company said, with the exception of Hans-Dieter Pötsch, the Volkswagen chairman who was the company’s chief financial officer until late last year. This was “at his own request,” the company said.

The statement on Wednesday followed reports in the German news reports in recent days about disagreements at the company over the extent to which managers should have their bonuses reduced.

News of the diesel emissions scandal broke on Sept. 18, when the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington said that Volkswagen had installed software on 482,000 cars that was used to cheat on emissions tests. On Sept. 22, Volkswagen said about 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide had the software.

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How Volkswagen Is Grappling With Its Diesel Deception

Volkswagen has admitted that 11 million of its vehicles were equipped with software that was used to cheat on emissions tests. The company is now contending with the fallout.

OPEN Graphic

Martin Winterkorn, the longtime chief executive, resigned on Sept. 23, saying he was doing so in the interests of the company, but that he was not “aware of any wrongdoing on my part.” He was replaced by Matthias Müller.

Volkswagen said on Wednesday that the “supervisory board and management board jointly agreed that — given the current situation of the company — a signal should also be sent with respect to the topic of the management board’s remuneration.”

The company did not provide bonus figures.

Volkswagen said it would include details about the move when it releases its annual report, on April 28.

Stephan Weil, the governor of Lower Saxony and a member of Volkswagen’s supervisory board because his state is a major shareholder, told the legislature in Hanover that “the expectations of the public” had to be taken into account.

In 2014, Mr. Winterkorn’s remuneration totaled 15.86 million euros, or $18.1 million, of which €1.62 million was his fixed salary. Mr. Pötsch earned about €6.8 million, most of which was also from variable pay.

Volkswagen’s 2015 results were originally scheduled to be released on March 10, but the company delayed the announcement to the end of April because of “open questions” about the costs of the emissions scandal.

Volkswagen shares were up 4 percent in midafternoon trading in Frankfurt on Wednesday.

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