A photo taken on October 1, 2015 shows a general view of the Volkswagen car production plant in Uitenhage, on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. AFP PHOTO / MICHAEL SHEEHAN
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Volkswagen's decision to nominate a long-serving executive as chairman has once more highlighted the carmaker's corporate governance and culture, which some experts argue were a root cause of the diesel-emissions scandal.Hans-Christoph Hirt, a director of Hermes Equity Ownership Services, an adviser to pension fund investors in companies including VW, said the appointment created a "serious conflict of interest".VW's response has been compared with the way Siemens dealt with a huge bribery scandal in 2006 .However, governance experts argue the cheating was predictable because of VW's lax boardroom controls and peculiar corporate culture.Even before the diesel scandal, VW's shares traded at a discount to other carmakers partly because of governance concerns.In 2012 VW appointed Ursula Piech -- a former kindergarten teacher and the wife of Mr Piech -- to its supervisory board.Mr Cromme quit VW's board in 2006 when Mr Piech used votes from workers to push through a trade unionist as head of personnel, against the wishes of some shareholder representatives on the board.The influence of employees at VW remains far greater than at any other major German company.VW has almost 600,000 employees but its management board is staffed entirely by men.
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