Ousted Volkswagen CEO Might Still Get $67M Payday, Plus Company Car

(NOTE: Mr. Winterkorn did not actually say the above statement, but you know he's probably thought it once or twice.)

(NOTE: Mr. Winterkorn did not actually say the above statement, but you know he’s probably thought it once or twice.)

If I got fired — sorry, had to resign — from a CEO job because my company’s stock value had tanked in the middle of a worldwide product recall scandal, the most I’d expect to walk away with is my fancy CEO nameplate and the framed picture of my teacup basset hound “Drooly” that I keep on my desk. But the recently exiled CEO of Volkswagen could be wiping away his tears with a payout worth upwards of $67 million.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Martin Winterkorn, who stepped down from his gig atop the German automaker yesterday, already had about $33 million in his VW pension at the end of 2014. And according to the company’s annual report, there’s a severance payout rule that pays up to two years worth of their total annual remuneration.

That could mean another $34 million for Winterkorn, that is if the VW board says so. There is also the promise of a company car. We have some suggestions for some “clean diesel” models he should consider.

See, the only way Winterkorn — or any VW exec at the top level — can get that two-year severance deal is if it’s determined he left the job through no fault of his own. But as the Journal points out, the annual report doesn’t spell out exactly how the board determines issues of fault in these matters.

Of course, $67 million is a dust particle compared to the $18 billion smog cloud that VW could have to inhale if the Environmental Protection Agency chooses to pursue the maximum penalty for each car VW sold in the U.S. with software designed to cheat on emissions tests.

And then there are the growing number of class action suits being filed, state-level investigations, and possible criminal prosecution by the U.S. Justice Department.