Schaeffler's board says it will transform the company into a stock corporation.

"With this step, the Schaeffler Group continues its path towards capital market viability," said supervisory board chairman Georg Schaeffler. "We now have an even broader set of capital market instruments at our disposal, greater entrepreneurial flexibility and transparency.

"At the same time, this decision gives the company the opportunity to continue on its long-term course of success based on innovation with the management team."

The operations of the Schaeffler Group will be managed by an executive board. The board is made up of six executive officers according to German corporate law and another five executives.

"As a family-owned company, we want to keep all our strategic options open in the long term," said vice supervisory board chairwoman Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler.

"Capital market viability serves the interests of the entire company and its workforce of more than 70,000 people worldwide.

Schaeffler added it had "numerous capital market options available," although said it was not planning an IPO of the stock corporation.