Mercedes chairman quits over merger plans

The protracted power struggle at Daimler-Benz came to a head yesterday when Helmut Werner, chairman of Mercedes-Benz, its luxury car and trucks unit, resigned in protest over the reshaping of Germany's biggest industrial group.

Mr Werner had unsuccessfully resisted attempts by Juergen Schrempp, Daimler's chief executive, to merge Mercedes within the overall structure of the parent company. Mercedes, which accounts for three-quarters of Daimler's sales and is regarded as the group's cash-cow, will lose its seven-year independence as a result of the restructuring.

In a statement the company said it was Mr Werner's "feeling that the new organisational structure of Daimler-Benz did not offer a scope of responsibility commensurate with his industrial experience".

Other positions for Mr Werner within the Daimler-Benz board had been discussed but none satisfied his expectations, the statement said. Last night it remained unclear when Mr Werner's resignation would take effect. In accordance with German corporate practice no mention of Mr Werner's pay-off was made either.

Mr Werner was reported to be the only board member to vote against the restructuring plan, though Daimler insisted he had offered his "full support and agreement to the new structure" proposed by the parent company's board.

Analysts broadly welcomed the move. "There wasn't room for Werner and Schrempp in the one company. Schrempp had to get clear and undisputed control," said Peter Schmidt of Automotive Industry Data. "Werner is a very capable guy but he ran Mercedes as though it was his own company and an autonomous group and this just is not the case."

Mr Werner's departure, the latest in a series of top-level management changes at Daimler, draws a line under the German industrial conglomerate's ill-fated late-1980s attempt to diversify away from its core car business and build a national defence and aerospace champion on the back of Mercedes' commercial success.

Daimler has been on the road to recovery since reporting a massive DM5.7bn (pounds 2.13bn) loss in 1995 after massive provisions were taken at its DASA defence and aerospace division, which is part of the European Airbus consortium.

Mr Schrempp, who took over from Edzard Reuter two years ago, has cut back unprofitable businesses and exited from Fokker to help Daimler return to profit.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Administrator

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are a vibrant and establishe...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Advisor

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced Repayments Advis...

Recruitment Genius: Investment Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of financ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you looking to take your ...

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935