GERMANY: DaimlerChrysler management gets lowest 'approval rating' since CEO appointed
DaimlerChrysler shareholders dealt management a humiliating blow at Wednesday's annual general meeting in Berlin after handing it what the Reuters news agency described as "probably its lowest approval rating" since Juergen Schrempp was apponted chief executive.
The report said investors sought to punish the CEO for the failure of his grand strategy to build a "World Inc." carmaker - the German-US giant has attempted to build a global empire that benefits from economies of scale via the sharing of investment and engineering costs across its various holdings.
Instead, Reuters added, DaimlerChrysler has suffered heavy losses over the past few years in its struggle to cope with one crisis after another at its various businesses around the world - the latest crisis involves 37%-owned affiliate Mitsubishi Motors, Japan's only unprofitable car company that sources reportedly say requires a capital injection of 700 billion yen ($6.7 billion) as part of a planned bail-out package.
Reuters said that, despite frequent demands from shareholders for both Schrempp and chairman Hilmar Kopper to step down, the supervisory board - headed by Kopper and including employees and outside industry executives - on Wednesday extended the CEO's contract to 2008 as planned and re-elected Kopper chairman, although both were given an explicit warning from the 9,300 investors gathered in the German capital.
Only 88.5% of the company's shareholders reportedly ratified the day-to-day management board's performance in 2003, compared to 99.4% in the previous year - a reflection on Schrempp's performance.
Chairman Kopper, who Reuters said was often criticised for his fraternising style with the CEO, suffered a larger loss in confidence with only 87.3% approving his supervisory board's job, down from 99.3% last year.
The news agency said the company wouldn't confirm whether this was the lowest since Schrempp's term as CEO began, but said it was "probably" so.