Interim Audi Chief Bram Schot. Picture: REUTERS/Michael Dalder
Interim Audi Chief Bram Schot. Picture: REUTERS/Michael Dalder

Frankfurt — Volkswagen (VW) has named Bram Schot interim chief at its Audi unit, selecting the luxury brand’s sales chief to replace longtime leader Rupert Stadler following his arrest on Monday over his role in VW’s diesel-emissions cheating scandal.

The decision, following two days of crisis discussions at VW’s board, elevates an executive so far untainted by the slow-motion scandal that continues to burn almost three years after the company admitted to rigging emissions tests. Stadler, who remains in jail pending testimony he’s scheduled to give this week, asked to be temporarily relieved of his duties, Audi said in a statement on Tuesday.

The manner of Stadler’s suspension, and VW’s backing the executive for months while he’s been operating under a cloud, suggest the company is making little headway drawing a line under a crisis after pledging to reform its culture. Based on an intercepted conversation, prosecutors sought his arrest after concluding he tried to influence witnesses, a person familiar with the situation said earlier.

"This release applies temporarily, until the circumstances that led to his arrest have been clarified," the statement said.

Schot joined the parent organisation from Daimler in 2011 and has held roles in its commercial vehicles unit. He heads Audi’s sales and marketing and joined Audi’s management board last year, long after the scandal erupted.