Volkswagen Considers 'Term Limits' For Key Positions To Increase Oversight

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

Volkswagen executives may rotate in and out of key positions with the company to increase oversight and possibly reduce the chance for another massive cheating scandal that has engulfed the automaker, Reuters reported (via Welt am Sonntag).

Supervisory board chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch told the German newspaper that the automaker would consider steps such as rotating engineers on a regular basis and developing key components with multiple layers of oversight would help change a corporate culture that pressured workers into cheating emissions standards.

“We need a culture throughout the Group, which not only tolerates different opinions, but permits errors. It is important that mistakes are made only once,” Pötsch told Welt am Sonntag.

Pötsch maintained that the illegal “defeat device” that enabled 11 million Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and Skoda cars to cheat worldwide emissions tests were developed by a small, isolated group within the automaker.

The newly appointed chairman said it may be difficult for the companies to regularly rotate key, specialized positions, such as an engine code software engineer, but that the company could move those workers throughout its brands.

“It’s easier said than done. There are few employees that are able to program an engine control unit. But we have these people across the different brands. For example, experts at Audi could switch to Porsche and from Porsche to VW and so on,” Pötsch said, according to Reuters.

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  • on Dec 20, 2015

    Herr Pötsch need only look to the United States government legislative branch to realize the folly of this idea. If term limits were the best way to go, our legislative branch would have term limits, right? Our governing body, having examined, cussed and discussed this have determined it doesn't work. Wise up Volkswagen.

  • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Dec 20, 2015

    This is the kind of thing that happens in automotive purchasing organizations in order to deter corruption. After 2-4 years on a certain commodity, buyers rotate to a different one. Such rotation is more difficult to imagine for specialist engineers and a big disruption to private lives to move from Wolfsburg to Inglestadt to Stuttgart to etc. This issue would be better handled with a syringe message from the top that cheating is not tolerated as well as a comprehensive and believable whistleblower program. To move workers hin-und-her like Wanderpökels will result in the loss of talent to competitors and suppliers.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Dec 20, 2015

    Good motive, bad idea. There is something to be said for developing a specialty, with long experience in a particular position. Knowing the history of a particular design is extremely valuable to an organization. Rotating engineers like commodities throughout the company will result in them leaving for more stable work elsewhere, where their long-term knowledge and contributions can be appreciated. My employer's new owners are trying this approach, and within 6 months of starting this plan, nearly every engineer (including me) is looking for a different job. If Volkswagen persists with this plan, you can also look for a drop in quality because seasoned engineers will now be making first-year mistakes in their new roles.

  • Pdl2dmtl Pdl2dmtl on Dec 20, 2015

    Finally it's quiet over here. I can almost hear the tumbleweed rolling and the crickets chirping. Nobody is interested about VW anymore. (One can only hope...) Sometimes I wish that EPA could put them out of their misery.