Volkswagen suspends Thomas Steg over monkey gassing scandal
Volkswagen has suspended its chief lobbyist, Thomas Steg, who has admitted to having knowledge of the study into the effects of diesel fumes on monkeys.
LATE LAST WEEK, the New York Times and Stuttgarter media outlets published articles linking Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler to a research agency the German Three funded. That agency, with the knowledge of some Volkswagen executives, subjected monkeys to diesel fumes to counter the World Health Organisations statement that diesel fumes were carcinogenic.
Volkswagen, last night, announced it had suspended its chief lobbyist, Thomas Steg, who’d admitted knowing about the study. Responding to the scandal in a statement, VW CEO Matthias Mueller said he accepted a request from Steg, who is the head of VW’s external relations, to be put on a leave of absence as the automaker examines the circumstances surrounding the animal testing.
“We are currently in the process of investigating,” Mueller said. “Mr Steg has declared that he will assume full responsibility. I respect his decision.”
Emails have been discovered revealing that Steg was informed about the planned study in 2013. Speaking to Germany’s Bild newspaper, Steg said that, “From today’s perspective, the experiment should not have been carried out, even under different conditions … “I regret that very much. This has nothing to do with scientific learning.”
Steg insisted that former Volkswagen boss, Martin Winterkorn, whom he reported to was unaware of the test.
This from Volkswagen’s descriptor of Thomas Steg: “Dr. Thomas Steg has been the Volkswagen Group’s General Representative for External Relations and Government Affairs since 2012. Steg is a social science graduate and began his career in 1986 as an editor with Braunschweiger Zeitung. He then worked as a press spokesperson, first for DGB Lower Saxony/Bremen, then for Lower Saxony’s Ministry of Social Affairs from 1991, and for the SPD parliamentary group in Lower Saxony from 1995. In 1998 he became deputy head of the office of Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder at the Federal Chancellery, before holding the post of deputy government spokesman from 2002, and became an independent communications consultant in 2009”.