VW’s Diess says arrest of Audi’s Stadler hard to comprehend

BERLIN — Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess told a German newspaper the arrest of Audi head Rupert Stadler was a shock and hard to comprehend.

VW has suspended Stadler, head of VW’s most profitable brand, after German authorities arrested him as part of an emissions probe.

“It was a massive shock for me. The arrest of a CEO of a major car brand — that’s never happened before,” Diess told Germany newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

“The arrest is hard to comprehend. I knew Rupert Stadler as a problem solver,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Stadler, who has not made any public comment, has not been charged and prosecutors are set to continue questioning him this week.

Asked whether he could imagine Stadler returning, Diess said it would depend on what facts emerge: “Should the accusations of the state prosecutors prove to be true, then it’s a clear decision.”

He said that he did not believe Audi would suffer immediately from the departure of its CEO.

“But if it lasts too long, then it does become a problem,” Diess said. “However, I am convinced that we will get through this.”

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