As expected, the infighting on the Continental board has led to the chief executive agreeing to step down immediately with the chairman stepping down later.

The two executives relinquish their positions as part of an ongoing power struggle with major shareholder Schaeffler.

CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann steps down from Continental’s Executive Board ‘by mutual agreement’ the firm said in a statement.

Effective immediately, Dr. Elmar Degenhart (50), previously chairman of the management board of the Automotive unit in the Schaeffler Group, replaces Neumann.

The new CEO also will head Continental’s money-losing powertrain division.

Rolf Koerfer, a Schaeffler appointee, will resign from his position as chairman of Continental’s supervisory board in the mid-term and hand over responsibility to an independent board member after a new finance chief is appointed, the company said in a statement.

Neumann, 48, is the second Continental CEO to go in 12 months after Manfred Wennemer quit when he lost a power struggle with Schaeffler.

Schaeffler controls Conti but at present holds just under 50 per cent of Conti’s shares, having agreed to limit its stake and preserve key aspects of Conti’s independence as part of an investor agreement that runs until 2014. Schaeffler is also struggling with its debts.