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Ex-Chrysler COO Bernhard Joins Daimler Board

Soon to oversee Mercedes car production and procurement.

by on Feb.05, 2010

Wolfgang Bernhard, at the 2003 Detroit Auto Show, introducing the Tomahawk concept.

Wolfgang Bernhard has been elevated to Daimler AG’s board of management, and Daimler chief executive officer Dieter Zetsche proposing to make Bernhard a full member of the supervisory board and put him in charge of Mercedes-Benz Cars Production and Procurement and for the Mercedes-Benz Vans division.

Discussions are being held with Rainer Schmückle, currently responsible for Production and Procurement, Mercedes-Benz, said the announcement, which calls attention to the less-than transparent inner workings of the Daimler supervisory and management board, where top managers, unions, shareholders and major creditors vie for authority.

At least one influential German magazine, Der Spiegel, has speculated that Zetsche’s grip on power is tenuous.  Under his management, Daimler has seen a disastrous break-up with its one-time American partner, Chrysler, among other things.

Zetsche, however, insists that that after a rough patch created by the global recession, Daimler is on the mend, thanks to a strong showing in both the U.S. and in China, the latter market providing significant sales growth.


Zetsche also announced that Daimler planned to restructure Mercedes-Benz production in the next product cycle by shifting some work out of its big home plant in Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart, placing more emphasis on production in Eastern Europe and in the United States, where the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama is scheduled to begin building C-Class vehicles in the next few years.