Hiltrud Werner, board member responsible for integrity and legal affairs at Volkswagen, will leave the German automaker on Feb. 1, 2022.
Werner’s departure was announced Thursday as part of a series of managerial changes at Volkswagen that centered around a dispute between CEO Herbert Diess and several powerful labor unions at the company, according to multiple reports. Although Volkswagen made several management changes to settle the dispute, including adding new board members, it was not clear whether Werner’s departure was related to the dispute.
Werner will be replaced by Manfred Döss, who was the automaker’s chief negotiator in Washington D.C. with U.S. regulators during the Dieselgate scandal. Volkswagen Chief Compliance Officer Kurt Michels, who had reported directly to Werner, will now report to Döss.
Döss serves on the board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE with responsibility for legal affairs and compliance.
Werner joined Volkswagen’s board as its sole female representative in 2017. She was a key figure in the company’s three-year U.S. monitorship as the result of its actions during Dieselgate, in which Volkswagen was found to have installed defeat device software into Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche diesel models sold in the United States between model years 2009-16.
“Hiltrud Werner has played an important role in supporting the Group during a very challenging period,” said Volkswagen Supervisory Board Chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch in a press release. “She not only brought the monitorship to a successful conclusion, but also pressed ahead with and implemented, among other things, compliance and integrity measures of key importance for the Group.”
As part of Thursday’s reshuffling, Volkswagen promoted Ralf Brandstätter, head of the VW brand, to the management board. Brandstätter will take over responsibility for China in August next year, which had been under Diess’s remit as CEO.
Hauke Stars, a former board member of Deutsche Börse AG from 2012-20, was appointed to a new position on the board overseeing information technology. Audi sales chief Hildegard Wortmann will join the group board in addition to her current role and oversee sales for the entire company. The addition of Stars and Wortmann will increase the number of female board members from one (Werner) to two.