A Decade of CEO Schrempp | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 29.07.2005
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A Decade of CEO Schrempp

Jürgen Schrempp pulled the strings at Daimler-Benz and later DaimlerChrysler for over 10 years. DW-WORLD looks at the most important moments of his career in Stuttgart.


His vision didn't pan out

May 24, 1995: Jürgen Schrempp takes Edzard Reuter's place as Daimler-Benz chief executive officer.

September 1995: Schrempp discloses half-year losses of 1.56 billion deutsche marks (798 million euros, $968 million)) due to currency fluctuations.

November 1995: Restructuring at aviation subsidiary DASA costs 8,800 jobs.

January 1996: Daimler-Benz axes funding for Dutch subsidiary Fokker, causing the airplane manufacturer to go bankrupt.

April 1996: For the first time in 45 years, Daimler-Benz stockholders receive no dividends.

Auto: Das neue A-Klasse Modell wird von Mercedes in Griechenland vorgestellt

Mercedes went back to work on the A-Class after it failed the "elk test"

October 1997: The Mercedes A-Class makes headlines for rolling over during the infamous "elk test," which involves swerving at a high speed. The company subsequently redesigned certain aspects of the car.

November 1998: Daimler-Benz and Chrysler become DaimlerChrysler in what is a dubbed a "merger of equals." The companies' respective CEOs, Schrempp and American Bob Eaton, now work as a duo. DaimlerChrysler becomes the single owner of Smart, which manufactures extra-compact cars.

April 2000: Eaton quits, leaving Schrempp alone as DaimlerChrysler's sole CEO. Major shareholders led by US billionaire Kirk Kerkorian (photo, below) say the merger was actually a German takeover of Chrysler.

July 2000: Schrempp applies his vision of a carmaker with a global reach to Asia. DaimlerChrysler acquires a 34 percent stake in Mitsubishi Motors and 10 percent in South Korea's Hyundai. DASA is integrated into the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).

November 2000: Schrempp reorganizes Chrysler's management board. Dieter Zetsche replaces James Holden as head of the division. Zetsche and his deputy, Wolfgang Bernhard, introduce drastic restructuring, cutting 26,000 jobs and closing six factories.

August 2003: Due to technical problems, the Toll Collect consortium, which DaimlerChrysler is part of, fails to introduce Germany's high-tech truck toll system on time. The system isn't operable until early 2005. The German government demands billions of euros in compensation for lost revenues.

Kirk Kerkorian

Kirk Kerkorian

January 2004: Schrempp testifies in a US federal court in a lawsuit initiated by Kirk Kerkorian over the DaimlerChrysler merger. DaimlerChrysler eventually wins the case.

April 2004: DaimlerChrysler turns its back on Mitsubishi by abandoning plans to rescue ailing carmaker with a multi-billion-dollar investment. Schrempp, who championed the plans, reportedly faces severe criticism from members of the supervisory board. His adversary, Wolfgang Bernhard, who already had been named Mercedes' new CEO, leaves the DaimlerChrysler. Industry insiders start speculating about Schrempp's future.

July 2004: After weeks of protests and strikes, DaimlerChrysler resolves a labor dispute, guaranteeing jobs until 2012 at the Sindelfingen plant near Stuttgart at the same time as cutting 500 million euros in annual labor costs.

mig 07.06.2005 smart

Smart cars

April 2005: DaimlerChrysler introduces a 1.2 billion euro restructuring plan at Smart after it fails to become profitable by introducing new models. Mercedes Group makes losses of almost a billion euros in the first quarter of the year due to the high cost of quality improvements.

July 28, 2005: Schrempp announces he will resign his position at the end of the year. Dieter Zetsche, head of Chrysler, is set to become his successor.

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