€5.9m bonus for former VW chief Martin Winterkorn

Bonuses should have been withheld until investigation was complete, says investor

Martin Winterkorn, the former Volkswagen chief executive, was awarded €5.9 million in performance-related pay for last year after escaping the bonus clawbacks applied to other senior managers after the diesel emissions scandal.

The bonuses for Mr Winterkorn and senior managers still at VW were criticised by a corporate governance expert and shareholders, with one investor saying the German carmaker should have withheld all such payments until an investigation had determined who was responsible for the company’s wrongdoing.

Mr Winterkorn received a pay package of €7.3 million for 2015. He stepped down shortly after the affair broke in September, a move that meant he was not subject to the clawbacks. Hans-Christoph Hirt of Hermes EOS, a shareholder, said VW’s supervisory board should have withheld all bonus payments to senior managers until an inquiry into the affair had been completed.

Ingo Speich of Union Investment, another shareholder, said all bonuses should be ­frozen, while Christian Strenger, a corporate governance expert, said: "How can you defend payments to people who may be found guilty of negligence and other mistakes?"

– Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016