Friday 29th November 1996
Volkswagen executive Jose Ignacio Lopez resigned under charges of industrial espionage from General Motors (GM), his former employer. As part of a major lawsuit against Volkswagen, GM charged that Lopez, its former worldwide chief of purchasing, had stolen trade secrets from the company in 1993 when he defected to Volkswagen along with three other GM managers. Lopez’s resignation was likely a result of pressure from the German carmaker, which sought to reach a settlement before the scheduled lawsuit began under U.S. jurisdiction. In January 1997, VW and GM announced a settlement in which Volkswagen would pay General Motors $100 million and agree to buy at least $1 billion in parts from GM. VW also confirmed that the three other former GM managers accused of industrial espionage had all either resigned or were due to take administrative leave. In return, GM agreed to drop all legal action.