Conflicting reports suggest that DaimlerChrysler trucks chief Eckhard Cordes and Chrysler boss Dieter Zetsche are the frontrunners to succeed Juergen Hubbert as head of the Mercedes Car Group.

Conflicting reports suggest that DaimlerChrysler trucks chief Eckhard Cordes and Chrysler boss Dieter Zetsche are the frontrunners to succeed Juergen Hubbert as head of the Mercedes Car Group.


Citing sources at the manufacturer, reported on Tuesday that DaimlerChrysler would appoint Cordes to head its Mercedes Car Group unit on July 28. Cordes apparently won key approval from employee representatives on the supervisory board by bringing about a turnaround at its loss-making commercial vehicles division without making retrenchments.


DaimlerChrysler chief executive Juergen Schrempp is reportedly unwilling to name a successor for Hubbert, whose contract expires in April 2005, without the support of unions.


Cordes, 53, is one of Schrempp's allies on the management board - if he gets the job, he will have beaten other internal candidates such as Smart car unit head Andreas Renschler, former Mitsubishi manager Ulrich Walker and Daimler's head of research and technology, Thomas Weber, who too has union support.


’Zetsche part of management revamp’


Contrary to the report, another DaimerChrysler source told Zetsche – not Cordes - could take over the Mercedes Car Group as part of a sweeping management revamp at the manufacturer.


If so, Wolfgang Bernhard - Zetsche's former deputy at the Chrysler - could emerge as the new head of the company’s US division. Some members of the German group's supervisory board are pushing for a comprehensive solution that could cement senior management for years to come, the news agency 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 reportedly said.


"Should Zetsche become a candidate, I could very well imagine that Bernhard becomes head of Chrysler. If he still wants to," the anonymous source told the news agency.

Original article from Car