Volkswagen Emission Scandal – Lessons for Investors, Boards, Chief Legal Officers, and Compliance and Governance Professionals

The current conflagration enveloping Volkswagen, involving a massive emissions regulation evasion scheme, has many causes and provides important lessons in the compliance and governance areas for investors, U.S. directors, chief legal officers, and compliance and governance professionals.  That such a pervasive and highly developed scheme to evade emissions standards could occur over such an extended period of time and through so many levels of the organization attest to a management and board culture gone awry.  To register for this event, click here.

Why did such a problematic culture exist at Volkswagen? What role did the board play; was the board actively monitoring management?  What role did the company’s unique governance structure (known as co-determination, that defines many German companies, and which has many similarities to U.S. stakeholder theory) play?  Did the use of dual class stock, which is used in many U.S. companies, exacerbate the problems?   What impact did the executive compensation structure (mandated by German law) have on the compliance culture? We invite you to a panel discussion that will focus on the above issues.  The panel will discuss the importance of appropriate board composition, theory, structure and appropriate compensation incentives in assuring an ethical corporate culture that promotes integrity and ultimate company success.  The panel will also discuss steps that boards, chief legal officers, and compliance and governance professionals can take to avoid problems such as those faced by VW.

Confirmed Panelists include:

• Robert E. Bostrom, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

• Charles M. Elson, Edgar S. Woolard, Jr. Chair in Corporate Governance; director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance; and Professor of Finance, University of Delaware; co-author of “The Bug at Volkswagen: Lessons In Co-Determination, Ownership and Board Structure” 

• Nicholas Goossen, student, University of Delaware; co-author and co-presenter of the paper, “The Bug at Volkswagen: Lessons in Co-Determination, Ownership and Board Structure”

 
• Meredith Miller, Chief Corporate Governance Officer, UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust• Gloria Santona, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, McDonald’s Corp.
 
• Anton R. Valukas, Chairman of the Firm, Jenner & Block The Honorable James T. Vaughn, Jr., Justice, Delaware Supreme Court
 
• Charles Elson, Director, John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance, Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics, University of Delaware; Edgar S. Woolard Chair in Corporate Governance; and Professor of Finance
 
Full event details, including registration information, will be forthcoming.  If you have any questions or would like to receive additional information, please contact Louisa Cresson, Assistant to the John L. Weinberg Center (lcresson@udel.edu).