Stephanie Davis, a lawyer and former director in the forensics investigations practice at accounting giant KPMG, likes a fixer-upper.
Davis joined Volkswagen Group of America last May as its chief compliance officer — a job aimed at helping avoid legal trouble at a company that last year pleaded guilty to three felonies in federal court in connection with its diesel emissions scandal.
“As chief compliance officer, I’m responsible for ensuring that we have a culture that is really open to speaking up, and promoting a great place to work in that respect,” Davis explained.
“We want a place where people feel comfortable speaking up when something doesn’t look right, and empowering them to understand that compliance is everyone’s business and everyone’s job.”
Davis, a native of metro Cleveland, was drawn to compliance work after law school, when she went to work near her hometown for the compliance arm of an energy company. Compliance work, she says, is “pretty much industry agnostic,” but she admits being drawn to the auto industry.
“I’ve been a car buff my whole life,” she said. “My father used to drag me to the Detroit auto show and the Cleveland auto show every year.”
When she is not trying to keep the company out of trouble, Davis is often found undertaking major home renovations.
“There is something attractive to seeing something not as it is, but as it can be,” Davis said.
“I’ll swing a hammer if I need to. I’ll help re-tile a bathroom if I’m asked.”
While some might look at VW in the wake of its diesel scandal and see a monumental task, Davis says she sees what the company can be, instead of what it was.
“I expected a lot of my colleagues to say, ‘Why would you go there right now?’ But this is a fascinating place to work, with great people.
“And it’s a great idea to help them come back and help them shape the policies to ensure that it never happens again.”
— Larry P. Vellequette