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Lieb’s Ouster Underscores Ethics Crackdown at Daimler

Ethics issues no longer ignored, will other senior officials be tripped up?

by on Oct.21, 2011

Ernst Lieb introducing the then-new Mercedes-Benz ML450 at the 2009 New York Auto Show.

The rules have changed and, as a result, so have some of the players, it seems – a crackdown on ethics snagging one of the big fish at Daimler AG, former Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Ernst Lieb.

Lieb was unceremoniously dismissed from his job after he was warned about financial indiscretions, including using corporate funds for to pay for household help and golf-club memberships for his wife, according to an investigation by TheDetroitBureau.com – as well as additional reports coming out of Europe.

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Lieb was removed despite compiling a solid record of sales success, over the past few years, in an extremely competitive market.  He apparently had received prior warnings over his lax attitude towards expense reimbursements but failed to recognize that Daimler was no longer willing to wink and nod at such violations.

The parent of Mercedes-Benz, Maybach and Smart now goes to great lengths to remain above reproach following a series of scandals that both hurt its image and cost it a significant amount of cash.

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Stung By Bribery Scandal, Daimler To Hire Chief Integrity Officer

Move follows payment of $185 mil fine to U.S. DoJ.

by on Sep.29, 2010

Preventing further ethical lapses has a "high priority," says Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche.

Stung by a $185 million fine for violating U.S. anti-corruption laws as the result of a global bribery scandal, Daimler AG said its moving to create a new position on the company’s board of management to oversee “Integrity and Legal.”

The new position was created by the German automaker’s supervisory board, which said the role of Chief Integrity Officer will be filled by an executive-level employee hired from outside the company.  The job duties will include managing Daimler’s global Legal and Compliance Organization and the related processes, as well as overseeing business ethics inside the company.

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“As a matter of principal, Daimler aims to create a corporate culture that not only fulfills the requirements of applicable law, but also meets the highest ethical demands and is regarded as exemplary throughout the industry. To achieve this goal, Daimler will successively take further initiatives in addition to establishing this new Board of Management position,” the company said in a statement.

Earlier this year, the Stuttgart-based company, parent of Mercedes-Benz and Smart, acknowledged a series of ethical breaches occurred despite having put in place an ethical behavior policy back in 1999.  Breaches – including the use of bribes to secure business in 22 countries — continued through 2008, according to the U.S. government, and eventually netted the company about $90 million.

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