Daimler CEO candidate Renschler resigns after job switch

Renschler, 55, who oversaw production and purchasing at the world’s third-largest luxury-car maker, asked to leave with immediate effect, the Stuttgart, Germany-based manufacturer said in a statement, without providing additional details.

Daimler had to win over labor leaders to get Zetsche’s contract approved last February, and works council members of the supervisory board pushed through the job swap between Bernhard and Renschler as part of the deal in order to work directly with Renschler on the car unit’s reorganization, a person familiar said at the time.

There had been growing concern at the works council over a lack of input from labor leaders on the cost-cutting measures at the car division, the person said. Solutions to restructure the trucks unit under Renschler had always been found through negotiations between the company and labor representatives, the person said.

"We very much regret the resignation of Andreas Renschler," Silke Ernst, a spokeswoman for Daimler’s works council, said.

Markus Schaefer, 48, currently responsible for production planning at Mercedes, will assume Renschler’s duties, Daimler said in last night’s statement.

CEO Succession

Bernhard, 53, last year took charge of the Daimler truck division that includes the Freightliner commercial-vehicle brand in the U.S. and Fuso in Japan, in addition to Mercedes-Benz heavy vehicles built in Europe and Brazil. He returned to Daimler in 2009 after a five-year absence that included a stint at VW, and took the Mercedes car division’s production post in 2010.

Zetsche and his predecessor Juergen Schrempp both worked in the commercial-vehicles division before becoming CEO.

"With Renschler gone, there’s one candidate less to succeed Zetsche as CEO," said Frank Schwope, a Hanover, Germany-based analyst with NordLB. "Bernhard is not the only remaining option. Bernhard has not always been uncontroversial and there’s the powerful bloc of employee representative to consider."

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