Volkswagen this week appointed Kurt Michels as chief compliance officer of the Volkswagen Group, effective April 1. In this position, he is to succeed Frank Fabien, who is joining Wolfsburg AG as speaker of the management board. Michels previously served as chief compliance officer for the Trucks, Vans, and Buses sector of Daimler AG.

Michels started his career with Daimler-Benz AG as an in-house attorney for purchasing and sales law in 1998. From 2006, he headed the Product Safety & Regulatory Department as associate general counsel. In this function, he held global responsibility for the topics of product safety, product liability prevention, emissions law, technical compliance, criminal law, and public law.

In 2011, Michels was appointed chief compliance officer for Trucks and Vans, and in 2013 also for the Buses sector. In this function, he was responsible for the development and implementation of a compliance program for worldwide corruption prevention, for the sustained safeguarding of compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements, and for the prevention of money laundering.

Last Januaary, group head of compliance, Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt, also a former Daimler employee, left her post after disagreements with senior managers at the crisis-hit company.

More changes

Micels appointment is the latest compliance officer change within the company. On Jan. 31, 2017, Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt left Volkswagen as the company's compliance chief after just one year in the position, following the conclusion of comprehensive settlements with the U.S. authorities, following its emissions-cheating scandal.

Hohmann-Dennhardt was appointed as a member of the board of management of Volkswagen with responsibility for ‘Integrity and Legal Affairs' on Jan. 1, 2016. Over the past twelve months, she launched improvements in the group's compliance structures. Furthermore, a campaign to foster the culture of integrity within the Group was rolled out under her leadership.

Volkswagen and Hohmann-Dennhardt parted "due to differences in their understanding of responsibilities and future operating structures" within the function she lead, the company stated. Hiltrud Werner, who has been head of Volkswagen Group Auditing since Jan. 1, 2016, took over the post from Hohmann-Dennhardt.

"Volkswagen will continue to press forward with changes to its way of thinking and working," the company stated. "The group has substantially elevated its commitment to working ethically and with integrity and is decentralizing its organization. Brands and regions already have much more autonomy with regard to their operating business. These and other initiatives are part of a broader transformation of Volkswagen's corporate culture to create a more entrepreneurial and international organization."