Investor advisory group Hermes EOS has called for a special audit of VW and advised its clients to vote against approval of the carmaker’s management and supervisory board at its annual general meeting on 22 June.
A statement from Hermes’s co-head, Hans-Christoph Hirt, said: “In the light of the emissions scandal, which broke in September 2015, and the lack of information until today who bears responsibility for it, Hermes EOS will recommend its clients to vote against the discharge of both the management and the supervisory board at Volkswagen’s annual general meeting on 22 June 2016.
“In addition, we have initiated a request for a special audit to investigate their acts and potential breaches of duty.”
He added the special audit would “focus on underlying corporate governance issues, not least the influence of the principal shareholders, the composition and effectiveness of the supervisory board and the corporate culture, as well as potential liability of the members of the management and supervisory boards”.
Hermes also listed its main concerns. Chief among them is its belief that VW’s management board failed to ensure compliance with the law; VW’s supervisory board lacked “sufficient independence”; the supervisory board has been “deficient” in monitoring the management board; remuneration may breach the German Stock Corporation Act; and the company was late in informing markets about the emissions scandal.
Reuters reported on Monday that German investor group DSW and Brussels-Based Deminor have also called for investors to vote on a special audit.