A CEO is accountable for all the behaviour and results of their company. Today VW CEO Martin Winterkorn admitted that the company he is the chief executive of had mislead both regulators and customers. How is it possible for a global company fraudulently installing software in their cars to deceive their customers and regulators without the knowledge of the CEO? This scam, due to its scope and scale, had to have the ear of senior management.
Volkswagen wants to be the largest automaker in the world, but how dare they have this aspiration when they get caught in such a sophisticated scam that is so stunningly deceitful. A company has an accountability to serve the communities it works and sells in. It must demonstrate responsibility and care to this community. When it breaks this bond of trust it loses it right to serve these communities.
Today VW launched a mea culpa PR initiative in the US. The strategy being if you say sorry your customers will forgive you. I believe this goes deeper….the company is sick and there must be consequences for this failure. Winterkorn has, it is reported, refused to quit. If the board is serious about ensuring this never happens again it needs to fire him when it meets later today. Only then can they start a process to eradicate a culture, led by their CEO, that produced such duplicitous behaviour.
If they do not nothing will change. How dare they fail to hold Winterkorn accountable for this scandal.