The latest pronouncements from Volkswagon’s Chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch, would like to paint his company’s recent wrong doings as a “chain of errors”. Basically, it was just some buggy code, right? A few errors that were just missed and then built upon themselves.
There is nothing in this story of corporate misdeeds that truly resembles an error. This scandal is the result of a very calculated set of decisions motivated by money. In a recent NPR piece, John Ydstie says that, “VW developers couldn’t figure how to meet U.S. emissions standards within the timeline and budget they’d been given, so they developed the software defeat device.” Basically, they couldn’t figure out the answer so they cheated.
These kinds of things don’t just randomly happen at a company the size of VW. This was not just the result of a chain of errors. There is a fundamental cultural problem at VW that will not be fixed until the Board of Directors itself is cleansed and indoctrinated with sound governance and ethical practices.