Blog: Dave LeggettBack to work

Dave Leggett | 8 August 2005

I'm back now after a fortnight out on vacation. We all know what that first morning back at the desk is like don't we? First thing I did was an 'emergency sweep' of my e-mail backlog for urgent (or nasty surprise) communications. Nothing untoward there, so now I need to go back through it in a more measured way. No, I'm not one of those people who takes a Blackberry away with them.

That said, while away I did find myself having a couple of brief conversations on my cell phone over Schrempp standing down at DaimlerChrysler. That was a surprise to me in the sense that normal rules didn't seem to apply to Jurgen Schrempp (just consider what he has presided over...). But the political ramifications within DC could be far reaching, of course.

I see Rob Golding delivered an interesting comment piece on Schrempp's departure, with an intriguing pick-up on the FT's role in the great Chrysler 'takeover or merger of equals' debate. (I wonder if Schrempp regrets the candid nature of what he said to the FT man now?) And the creation of the industrial giant that is DaimlerChrysler has to be the big legacy that the man leaves behind. In ten years' time he may well be revered for having the vision for that.  

But it was a tricky beast to tame in the late 1990s and early 2000s. There was some success in turning an ailing Chrysler around, but at the same time the Mercedes brand was undermined by serious quality problems. And the share price since 1998 does not make good reading. Shareholders have been up in arms (and quite rightly - it's what they do) and Schrempp's eventual downfall reflects the fact that he could not defy gravity forever. For the next leaders of the company, putting right damage to the Mercedes brand in the car market has to be the number one priority, I think.

Right, another double Espresso and a few phone calls, then it's back to that mountain of mails... 

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