Stadler, the highest-ranking Volkswagen executive to be imprisoned in the wake of the Dieselgate fiasco, was arrested in the summer of 2017 over allegations that he attempted to tamper with evidence relating to the scandal that first hit Audi and its parent Volkswagen in 2015. He appealed the conviction earlier this year but the appeal was rejected and he remained in prison.
Following his appeal rejection, the courts said that he remained under suspicion, despite Volkswagen and Audi's insistence that no top executives, including Stadler, were aware of any foul play. The court alleged that Stadler did have knowledge of emission-software manipulation and he allowed cars fitted with such so-called 'defeat devices' to still be sold. An estimated 11 million Volkswagen Group cars were supposedly fitted with the devices that allowed them to cheat emissions tests.
The executive was temporarily relieved of his duties following his imprisonment, with Bram Schot replacing him as CEO on an interim basis. Now Audi parent company Volkswagen has released a statement confirming Stadler's permanent departure from the company.
"The supervisory boards of Volkswagen AG and AUDI AG have today consented to the conclusion of an agreement with Rupert Stadler on the termination of his offices as a member of the board of management of Volkswagen AG and chairman of the board of management of Audi AG as well as of his service agreements," read the statement. "Mr. Stadler is leaving the companies with immediate effect and will no longer work for the Volkswagen Group."
"Mr. Stadler is doing so because, due to his ongoing pretrial detention, he is unable to fulfil his duties as a member of the board of management and wishes to concentrate on his defence," it continued. "The contractual execution depends on the course and outcome of the criminal proceedings."
Stadler joined Audi in 1990 and had remained with the wider Volkswagen Group since then. He became a member of Audi's management board in 2003 and became chairman four years later. In 2010 his was also appointed to the board of management of Volkswagen AG.
According to a report by Automobilwoche earlier this year, BMW purchasing director Markus Duesmann will take over the running of Audi on January 1 2019.