Hohmann-Dennhardt spent slightly more than a year revamping VW's ethics culture (Photo: Daimler)

Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt is leaving the Volkswagen Group management board, having served little more than a year as the carmaker's top executive in charge of integrity and legal affairs.

VW and Hohmann-Denhardt decided to go separate ways because of "differences in their understanding of responsibilities and future operating structures within the function she leads," the company said in a press release.

Hohmann-Dennhardt joined VW on January 1, 2016. She came from premium car group Daimler, where she had played a similar role, improving compliance, enforcing a stricter ethics culture and establishing standards that apply throughout the corporate structure.

At VW, Hohmann-Dennhardt faced a corporate culture that, experts say, was one of the main reasons the carmaker ended up willfully deceiving regulatory authorities about the emissions of a millions of its vehicles. The deceit, which came to light in September 2015, has so far cost VW billions of euros in fines and legal settlements.

VW said Hohmann-Dennhardt has improved the group's compliance structures and has helped roll out a company-wide campaign to "foster the culture of integrity." The company added that it has now "substantially elevated its commitment to working ethically and with integrity."

To make sure this change in corporate culture becomes permanent, the carmaker has appointed Hiltrud Werner to succeed Hohmann-Dennhardt. Werner has been head of VW Group auditing for the past year. Earlier she served as chief audit executive at supplier ZF.

Werner started her career as project manager for process optimization at software developer Softlab and subsequently also worked at premium car group BMW and truck maker MAN. BMW bought Softlab in 1992.