Volkswagen compliance chief to receive 12 million euro payout

German media has reported that Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt will receive a payout of more than 12 million euros ($12.8 million). The former judge joined the embattled carmaker just 13 months ago, but left unexpectedly.

Speaking to the German daily "Süddeutsche Zeitung," Hohmann-Dennhardt defended the payout sum, saying her contract, which was to run until the end of 2018, had been fulfilled.

Business | 23.01.2017

"The fact that the contract has been fulfilled means this is a completely normal process," she said, adding that "she has nothing to hide."

Hohmann-Dennhardt, a former senior judge on Germany's Federal Constitutional Court, had joined Volkswagen's board of management only at the beginning of last year. As head of integrity and legal affairs, she was tasked with cleaning up the carmarker's damaged image in the wake of the Dieselgate emissions scandal.

However, on Thursday VW announced her unexpected departure, citing "differences in their understanding of responsibilities and future operating structures within the function she leads."

Cars and Transportation | 12.01.2017

Reports suggest that she had clashed with the company's top brass over her exact role. Senior heads, eager to draw a line under the Dieselgate saga, reportedly did not warm to her efforts to shed greater light on how the scandal unfolded.

It is reported that the 12 million euro sum reflects her agreed earnings for the entire length of her three-year contract, as well as entitlements due from her previous role at rival carmaker Daimler.

Announcing Hohmann-Dennhardt's resignation, VW thanked her for her "outstanding expertise" and for achieving "important milestones." Those milestones include the settlement of civil and criminal litigation in the US, as well as a complete overhaul of all internal guidelines and procedures.

VW said it would "continue to press forward with changes to its way of thinking and working".

Hohmann-Dennhardt's replacement, VW's current head of auditing, Hiltrud Werner, will take over the role on Wednesday.

dm/jr (dpa, AFP)

Related Subjects

Dieselgate: A timeline

The disaster unfolds

About two weeks after Volkswagen admitted behind closed doors to US environmental regulators that it had installed cheating software in some 11 million of its diesel vehicles worldwide, the Environmental Protection Agency shared that information with the public. It was September 18, 2015. The ensuing crisis would eventually take a few unexpected turns.

Dieselgate: A timeline

The boss must go, long live the boss

Volkswagen's then-CEO Martin Winterkorn (above) had little choice but to step down several days after news of the scandal broke. In September, he tendered his resignation, but retained his other posts within the Volkswagen Group. Winterkorn's successor was Matthias Müller. Until taking the reins at VW, Müller had been the chairman at Porsche, a VW subsidiary.

Dieselgate: A timeline

Raiding headquarters

Regulators in the US weren't the only ones investigating VW. Authorities in Lower Saxony, the German state in which VW is based, were also scrutinizing the company. On October 8, state prosecutors raided VW's headquarters along with several other corporate locations.

Dieselgate: A timeline

Hell breaks loose

On January 4, 2016, the US government filed a lawsuit against VW in Detroit, accusing the German automaker of fraud and violations of American climate protection regulations. The lawsuit sought up to $46 billion for violations of the Clean Air Act.

Dieselgate: A timeline

Quit or forced out?

In March, the head of VW in the US, Michael Horn, resigned. In the initial days and weeks after the scandal broke, he was the one US authorities turned to for information. He issued an official apology on behalf of the automaker, asking for the public's forgiveness.

Dieselgate: A timeline


On October 25, a US judge approved a final settlement that would have VW pay $15.3 billion. In addition, affected cars would be retrofitted with better, non-deceptive hardware and software, or else VW would buy them back completely from customers.

Dieselgate: A timeline


When dieselgate first emerged in 2015, analysts said it was likely other car makers were also cheating tests. But it wasn't until 2017 that other companies were targeted in probes. In July, German authorities launched investigations into luxury car makers Porsche and Daimler for allegedly cheating emissions tests. Others, such as Audi and Chrysler, have also been hit by similar allegations.

Dieselgate: A timeline

Public still supportive

Despite dieselgate, VW has managed to keep the emissions scandal from utterly tarnishing its image. According to several polls, between 55 to 67 percent of Germans continue to trust the automaker. In the US, polls show that roughly 50 percent still believe the German company produces worthwhile vehicles.

Dieselgate: A timeline

Fuming over monkeys

In late January, however, VW suffered another heavy blow over reports that the company experimented on monkeys and made the animals inhale diesel fumes. To make matters worse, a separate experiment that had humans inhale relatively harmless nitrogen dioxide was revealed at the same time. Some media wrongly interpreted this to mean humans were also inhaling toxic fumes.

Related content