AUGUST 1, 2005
The future of Eckhard Cordes
There are ructions going on with the management at DaimlerChrysler following the news that chairman Jurgen Schrempp is to stand down. German newspapers are reporting that Schrempp will be followed out of the door by Mercedes-Benz chairman Eckhard Cordes because he no longer feels that he has the cofidence of the board of directors. The reports suggest that Cordes has tendered his resignation and say that Dieter Zetsche, the man who will replace Schrempp, may become head of Mercedes-Benz for a short period as well. Cordes only took the job last year when Jurgen Hubbert retired but he did have an effect on activities with the company deciding to stop the McLaren road car programme and stop the plan for the firm to buy the entire McLaren company, as had originally been envisaged by the previous management.
Thus a change at the top of the company could have important effects in F1 circles.
Zetsche is a man with a very international background. He was born in Istanbul but grew up in Frankfurt and joined Daimler-Benz in 1976 after qualifying as an engineer. Initially in commercial vehicles, he completed a doctorate in engineering in 1982 and then turned his attention to coordinating the international development of commercial vehicles. In 1987 he was sent to Brazil to be head of development and chief engineer of Mercedes-Benz do Brazil and in 1989 was named president of Mercedes-Benz Argentina. After that he went to Portland, Oregon to head the Freightliner Corporation before returning to bigger jobs in Stuttgart where he remained until appointed to head Chrysler in 2000.
Zetsche was strongly behind Chrysler's racing programmes, notably the move of Dodge into NASCAR
"Racing is part of marketing and we are racing enthusiasts," Zetsche said at the time. "This is a perfect fit for us."
Zetsche also competed in the 2004 Mille Miglia race in Brescia at the wheel of a 1929 Chrysler.
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