Volkswagen Group of America has appointed David Detweiler to serve as general counsel, effective as of Feb. 1.

Detweiler joins Volkswagen Group of America from the international law firm Clifford Chance in Frankfurt, Germany. He assumes his new role from David Geanacopoulos, who has served for nearly eight years as general counsel and head of government relations. 

Geanacopoulos will move to the newly created position of senior executive vice president for public affairs and public policy. In his new role as a member of the company’s board, he continue to serve on the company’s top executive team, dealing with the diesel emissions matter. His regular responsibilities will focus on the company’s interactions with government and other institutions in the United States on all aspects of public affairs and public policy.

As Compliance Week previously reported, the “diesel emissions matter” that Volkswagen is referring to dates back to 2008, when several top managers who painstakingly spent several years developing what was to be VW’s most important new diesel engine, realized these engines were not able to meet U.S. emissions standards. Not wanting to halt production and toss years of investment down the drain, managers decided instead to evade emissions standards altogether.

“The diesel emissions crisis has, understandably, broken the trust of regulators, elected officials, and the public.  Now, more than ever, the company must communicate with transparency and responsiveness to its stakeholders,” Thomas Steg, head of group government relations at Volkswagen AG, said in a statement. “The company will establish a group representation office in Washington, similar to its offices in Berlin, Brussels, Madrid and other world capitals.” Geanacopoulos will lead this office and assist the company in a more concentrated way with its government relations, Steg said.