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
Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
filmDheepan, film review
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
News
peopleComedian star of Ed Sullivan Show was mother to Ben Stiller
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?