In an administrative meeting, the CEO of Volkswagen repeatedly used the term Nazi, a small scandal surrounding the company. There are some shareholders who expect the CEO to be fired for the matter.
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In recent days, Volkswagen's investors have questioned whether the company's CEO could remain in place after using a term at last week's management meeting which, to say the least, was an accident in the Nazi period. Herbert Dies said Porshe's high operating margin offers more room for the brand than the group's other affiliates, the Financial Times said. However, he chose his words very badly, "EBIT fret macht", that is, profit is free. The problem with the sentence is that it is heavily spread by the entrance of the gates of Auschwitz and other concentration camps, where it was "Arbeit macht frei", meaning that the work is free.
I think they'll be thrown away. I am sorry that he is one of the few managers who would have moved the company in the right direction. On the other hand, this manifestation is so offensive that I do not think it could be resolved with a simple apology, "said Volkswagen's American institutional investor.
Diess's statement was first reported by Manager Magazine and in that article the manager apologized for it. He said he did not want to quote the Nazis at all, and that his vocation was unfortunate on his part, but he thought the term came from the German language long before. Of course you are right, but it is hardly an excuse, because today the term is associated with Nazi Germany. In addition, it is not to be said that he would not have understood the meaning since he only visited the site of the concentration camp memorial in Auschwitz last November. According to the article, Diess used the term repeatedly, not once, at the meeting.
The case of Volkswagen, established with the strong involvement of the Nazis, can be particularly embarrassing. The largest shareholder of the company is the Porsche-Piech family, and it is well known from Ferdinand Porsche that he was not only a member of the Nazi Party but also his SS.
Ulrich Hocker, director of DSW in Germany, told the Financial Times: God's apology is ridiculous. This is a phrase we simply do not say in Germany, "added the director, who apologizes to the CEO of the Volkswagen General Assembly, but that does not matter.
After the apology, it seems that Diess can stay, since he should enjoy the support of the company's largest shareholder. Despite this, they remain as question marks and do not facilitate Diess's support. The CEO was recently attacked by several companies because of the planned redesign of the group, which also involves significant layoffs in several subsidiaries, the study concludes.