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Daimler boss reportedly offered resignation

DaimlerChrysler Chief Executive Juergen Schrempp and two other company executives offered their resignations last week, according to a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany's leading daily newspapers.
/ Source: Reuters

DaimlerChrysler Chief Executive Juergen Schrempp and two other top executives offered to resign last week, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany's leading dailies, reported on Wednesday.

Citing company sources, the newspaper said in its online edition that Schrempp, along with Daimler's trucks boss Eckhard Cordes and its head of group strategy Ruediger Grube had offered the supervisory board their resignations last week.

The moves came as a result of the group's decision to cut the financial cord to 37 percent-owned Mitsubishi Motors, which blew a gaping hole in the company's Asian strategy.

Grube and Cordes both assisted Schrempp in engineering Daimler's expansion from a German luxury carmaker to a "World Inc." global operation with the merger with its struggling U.S. arm Chrysler and the acquisition of the Mitsubishi stake.

The decision to cut off Japan's only unprofitable auto maker from any further financial support has been viewed as a tacit admission that the strategy backfired on the company, which has seen its market value plunge by 40 billion euros ($47.60 billion) since the Chrysler merger.

The entire "World Inc." strategy is now under review, and the number of Schrempp's colleagues in management that still champion it has shrunk to a minority, the Frankfurter Allgemeine reported.

According to the newspaper, the supervisory board initially rejected the resignation offer, preferring to postpone discussion of the issue until a meeting in New York due to start on Thursday.

Daimler's board only this month extended Schrempp's contract by three years, and fears for its own reputation mean the Daimler CEO still has powerful allies, the paper reported.

DaimlerChrysler, which had previously called reports that Schrempp's future would be discussed on Thursday "nonsense", declined to comment on what it described as "speculation".