Volkswagen Group hired a compliance chief with a reputation for toughness from rival Daimler to help stem the fallout of the diesel-emission cheating scandal shattering the automaker.
Daimler’s Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt, 65, will take over a newly created management board position for integrity and legal affairs on Jan. 1, 2016, VW said in a statement.
In an unusual move, VW’s new chairman, Hans Dieter Poetsch, asked his counterpart at Daimler, Manfred Bischoff, to agree to the early termination of her contract.
“We are delighted that Dr. Hohmann-Dennhardt has agreed to take on this responsible task and that we can build on her outstanding competence and experience,” Poetsch said in the statement. “At the same time we would like to thank Daimler for agreeing to our request to the early termination of Dr. Hohmann-Dennhardt’s contract.”
Hohmann-Dennhardt’s contract had been due to run until Feb. 28, 2017.
Daimler said it agreed to VW’s request “in the interests of the good corporate governance of the German automotive industry.”
Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, head of the Center of Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, said Daimler is helping VW to rebuild trust in the German car industry. “It’s an important step to help VW clean up the affair,” he said.
Hohmann-Dennhardt was appointed by Daimler in February 2011 to oversee compliance, legal affairs and ethical issues at the automaker. Prior to this, she served on Germany’s constitutional court for 11 years as a judge.
Daimler expanded its management board from six to seven members to add Hohmann-Dennhardt, the first female management board member in the company’s history.