Mitsubishi Motors Corp on Monday said its German CEO had resigned after DaimlerChrysler announced last week it would cut off all financial aid to its ailing Japanese partner.


Reuters said the resignation of Rolf Eckrodt, 61, had been expected even before DaimlerChrysler’s surprise decision, as speculation swirled that he would be asked to take responsibility for the hefty losses at Mitsubishi’s North American operations.


Mitsubishi Motors, owned 37% by DaimlerChrysler, reportedly said Eckrodt had decided to resign after the German-American carmaker announced it would not participate in a capital increase plan for the Japanese firm, shunning further financial support.


Reuters noted that, after that announcement, Mitsubishi Motors’ three main shareholders in the Mitsubishi group hastily issued a statement vowing continued support for the carmaker, saying they would help it craft a new medium-term business plan without DaimlerChrysler.


“I strongly welcome the quick decision of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Corp and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi not only to offer financial support but also to actively work with Mitsubishi Motors on a new mid-term business plan,” Eckrodt was quoted as saying in a statement cited by Reuters.


“I therefore decided to make way for the new team around future chairman (Yoichiro) Okazaki,” he reportedly added.


According to Reuters, a Mitsubishi Motors statement said chief financial officer Keiichiro Hashimoto will act as interim head until the appointment of a new president.


The news agency said Eckrodt, who joined Mitsubishi Motors in January 2001 as chief operating officer and become CEO in June 2002, will also retire from a 38-year career in the automotive business, which he began at Daimler-Benz.


Eckrodt’s resignation is effective as of Monday, but he will be available to provide support for Mitsubishi Motors at the request of the Mitsubishi group, the statement reportedly said.