Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn says he is stepping down "in the interests of the company" as it grapples with the emissions scandal.

Wintekorn said in a statement Wednesday that "Volkswagen needs a fresh start -- also in terms of personnel. I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation."

He said he was acting in the interests of the company "even though I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part."

A successor was not immediately announced.