• Board committee known as presidium set to meet Wednesday
  • Volkswagen CEO said to face committee on emissions probe

As Volkswagen AG faces the threat of billions of dollars in penalties and a U.S. criminal investigation over the rigging of diesel engines, the inner circle of its supervisory board will meet Wednesday. Here’s a closer look at the group known as the presidium and its mandate.

The role of the presidium, formally the executive committee, is to discuss and prepare decisions to be made by the full board, and to deal with contractual matters concerning the company’s senior managers, according to VW’s website.

The group wants a “comprehensive and fast” explanation from Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn of the cheating on emissions tests, Handelsblatt reported, citing Bernd Osterloh, a labor representative on the presidium. The Wolfsburg, Germany-based carmaker’s full board has a meeting set for Friday -- a gathering that was scheduled before the scandal erupted last week.

The six-member committee is down to five for now following the departure in April of Chairman Ferdinand Piech and prior to the formal election of his designated successor, Chief Financial Officer Hans Dieter Poetsch. The members:

  • Berthold Huber, an official with Germany’s IG Metall union who is serving as Volkswagen’s interim chairman;
  • Osterloh, chairman of Volkswagen’s general works council, the body that represents employees within the company;
  • Stephan Wolf, vice chairman of the works council;
  • Wolfgang Porsche, Piech’s cousin and chairman of Porsche Automobil Holding SE, the holding company that owns the majority of VW voting shares;
  • Stephan Weil, prime minister of the state of Lower Saxony, which holds a 20 percent Volkswagen stake

The presidium, one of four committees of VW’s supervisory board, met seven times in 2014, as well as at least three times in 2015 after Piech began a failed effort to oust Winterkorn. Piech resigned from the board in April after a meeting with the executive committee made clear that he had lost support of the presidium’s members.

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