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Piech-Winterkorn feud tied to VW emissions scandal?by Justin King
Piech is said to have questioned Winterkorn about the EPA investigation weeks before the executive dispute came to light.
The public feud between former Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piech and ousted chief executive Martin Winterkorn may be related to the emissions scandal, according to German tabloid Bild am Sonntag.
Piech allegedly told VW's internal investigators, led by attorneys from Jones Day, that he questioned Winterkorn in March 2015. The latter executive is said to have dismissed the concerns, claiming "he had everything under control."
Just weeks later, Piech told a German newspaper that he had 'distanced' himself from Winterkorn. The comments were the first public sign of a leadership dispute that eventually led to Piech's resignation. Reports at the time did not pin down a precise reason that Piech lost confidence in the chief executive.
As Piech departed, board members publicly voiced support for Winterkorn and recommended to renew his contract. The emissions scandal came to light shortly thereafter, however, forcing his resignation before the contract renewal.
VW has downplayed the report as mere "speculation." The company has not yet released details of its internal investigation as promised, but the findings are expected to be released after additional settlements have been reached.