Rebuilding Trust: Stephanie Davis Brings Ethics and Compliance to Volkswagen After Emissions Crisis


“ There’s not many chief compliance officers that can point to a $30 billion issue and say, ‘Look, this is why we need a better compliance program.’ 

Stephanie Davis

In this episode of the Principled podcast, Stephanie Davis, chief ethics and compliance officer for Volkswagen Group of America is interviewed by Ben DiPietro, editor of LRN’s E&C Pulse newsletter. Davis joined Volkswagen right after the company’s diesel crisis, and is building the ethics and compliance program for the world’s largest automaker. 

In a company that did not have a compliance officer prior to her role, Davis made an effort to get to know all business unit leaders and to understand their business goals and individualized risks. Volkswagen is trying to rebuild trust with its customers through a commitment to improving emissions and by committing to being carbon-neutral. Davis explains how the company is driving diversity and inclusion, and how ethics is directing decisions around the use of AI and machine learning.



Headshot of guest, Stephanie Davis

Stephanie Davis is the chief ethics and compliance Officer for Volkswagen Group of America. She assumed her role in May 2017 and brings more than a decade of experience in compliance program and process design, implementation and oversight in corporate, advisory and academic settings in the United States. 

Prior to joining Volkswagen, Davis served as a director in the national forensic practice of the audit, tax, and advisory firm KMPG, based in Washington, D.C. She also spent more than seven years in compliance roles in the electric and power industries.

Davis was awarded compliance officer of the year at the 2019 Women in Compliance awards in London, and was named a Compliance Top Mind in 2019 by Compliance Week. She earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Miami School of Law, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Ohio. 



  • [0:53] Davis describes her journey to becoming chief ethics and compliance officer for Volkswagen of America. 

  • [3:30] Where is she in her efforts to build the ethics and compliance program, what changes she has implemented, and what’s next on her to-do list?

  • [5:30] What is her relationship with other business units, and how has it changed since she came aboard as CECO?

  • [7:20] What is the relationship E&C has developed with the board and the executive team?

  • [8:16] What has VW done to repair and rebuild trust after the diesel crisis, and how far along is the company in that effort?

  • [9:26] Davis started her career in an academic role, so what aspects from that part of her career helped her in her current role?

  • [11:12] How does Volkswagen define diversity and inclusion? What is the company doing in that area, how is E&C measuring progress?

  • [12:53] What types of guidelines are in place for the ethical use of artificial intelligence and machine learning? How big of a risk area is this? 

Don’t miss our next episode! Be sure to subscribe to Principled on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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