He knew nothing about the emissions scandal. Volkswagen’s supervisory board claims it made sure of that before appointing Matthias Müller chief executive. He does appear to have an alibi.
For the past five years, Mr. Müller served as head of Volkswagen’s Porsche brand, which hasn’t been touched by the scandal. U.S. authorities allege Volkswagen began cheating on emissions tests in 2009, years before Mr. Müller joined the board of directors in March 2015.
The origins of the scandal may date back even further. Volkswagen used software developed by Bosch to cheat U.S. diesel emissions tests. The parts supplier warned the automaker in 2007 against using its software illegally, Handelsblatt has confirmed through sources at Volkswagen.
At the end of his public introduction as chief executive on Friday, Mr. Müller mentioned almost in passing that the investigation would dig “back to the year of 2005.” In a joint letter with works council chief Bernd Osterloh, Mr. Müller vowed to “relentlessly” pursue the truth.
“We will do everything to win back the trust of our customers, partners, investors and the whole public little by little in the coming years,” the new chief executive said.