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Volkswagen gearing up to hire climate activist to scrutinize policies

Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess plans to hire a climate campaigner to shake up the German automaker’s efforts to fight pollution and help provide a much-needed kick-start toward becoming greener.

“We have so many ideas, but they take too long to implement in our big organization, so I need someone really aggressive internally,” Diess told the Financial Times in an interview. A company spokesman confirmed the remarks. The candidate will be granted direct access to Diess and other top executives.

VW embarked on a large-scale push to cut pollution from its vehicles and factories in the wake of the diesel-emission scandal that erupted more than four years ago. It admitted to manipulating exhaust readings for as many as 11 million diesel cars worldwide. The scandal has cost VW around 30 billion euros ($33 billion).

In the aftermath, VW forged a sustainability council including Margo Oge, a former director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and former EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard.

Diess has sought to use the crisis as a catalyst for deeper changes across VW’s notoriously bureaucratic apparatus, launching the industry’s most aggressive push into electric vehicles. The company earmarked 33 billion euros in EV investment over the next five years.

Source: Bloomberg