As widely expected, DaimlerChrysler has confirmed that Dr. Eckhard Cordes will take over from Juergen Hubbert as head of DaimlerChrysler’s Mercedes-Benz car division. Cordes, currently the DC commercial vehicle division’s boss, was felt by most observers to be the obvious choice for the role after plans to give the job to Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard were abruptly halted at the end of last month.

DC also confirmed that Bernhard is now leaving the company and he is said to be being courted by rival automakers. There has been strong speculation that he could be going to Volkswagen.

Dr. Eckhard Cordes has been a member of the Board of Management of DaimlerChrysler AG since December 16, 1998 and has been responsible for the Commercial Vehicles Division since November 17, 2000. In addition, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corporation and of the Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC).

In a statement issued in Stuttgart today the firm said:

Dr. Eckhard Cordes (53) will take responsibility for the Mercedes Car Group, effective as of October 1, 2004.

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Prof. Juergen Hubbert (65) will take over Board of Management responsibility for the Executive Automotive Committee (EAC) on behalf of the Chairman of the Board of Management, effective as of October 2004, until he will leave the Board in April 2005.

Andreas Renschler (46) has been appointed as Member of the Board of Management of DaimlerChrysler AG for a term of three years, responsible for the Commercial Vehicles Division.

New CEO of smart GmbH, Boeblingen, will be Ulrich Walker (52), until recently Executive Board Member at Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, responsible for design, development, production, purchasing as well as product planning and product management.

Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard will leave the company as of July 29, 2004 in mutual agreement with the Supervisory Board of DaimlerChrysler AG. The Supervisory Board thanks Bernhard for his achievements on behalf of the Company during his term of activity.