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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 06-25-2004, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Chrysler boss in running for Mercedes job

From Automotive News:

Chrysler boss in running for Mercedes job

Reuters / June 22, 2004

HAMBURG, Germany -- Chrysler chief Dieter Zetsche could take over DaimlerChrysler's luxury Mercedes Car Group as part of a sweeping management revamp at the automaker, a source close to the company told Reuters on Tuesday.

If so, then Wolfgang Bernhard -- Zetsche's former deputy at the group's U.S. arm who was blocked at the last minute from taking over Mercedes in May -- could emerge as the new head of Chrysler, the source said.

Some members of the German group's supervisory board are pushing for a comprehensive solution that could cement senior management for years to come rather than just replace outgoing Mercedes chief Juergen Hubbert, the source said.

"The events of recent months lead me to think that we need an overall concept that looks to the future and restores calm to the company," the official said.

He stressed that Eckhard Cordes, who won praise for turning around DaimlerChrysler's loss-making truck division without resorting to layoffs, was not the only candidate in the running to succeed Hubbert, as German media have suggested.

"Should Mr. Zetsche become a candidate, I could very well imagine that Mr. Bernhard becomes head of Chrysler. If he still wants to," said the source, who spoke on condition he not be identified.

When filling these two high-profile posts, the source said, the company should also look to naming a successor for Chief Executive Juergen Schrempp, whose contract runs until 2008 after being extended earlier this year.

He did not name any potential successors for Schrempp.

Bernhard, a rising star at DaimlerChrysler, was set to step into Hubbert's shoes at the group's most profitable division but was abruptly halted by the supervisory board after crossing swords with Hubbert and labor union representatives.

He still works for DaimlerChrysler, but his future role is unclear and many thought at the time he would quit.

The supervisory board is supposed to discuss Hubbert's successor at a meeting on July 28, but the source said no decision was likely at that point.

"I don't see the July meeting as the one to decide this. We have to be finished by the end of the year," he added.
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