27 July 2004

Eckhard Cordes (above) is being tipped to replace Jürgen Hubbert as chairman of Mercedes-Benz by Germany’s business community. The 53-year-old German presently heads up Merc’s truck division and is seen as a loyal supporter of parent company DaimlerChrysler’s controversial chairman Jürgen Schrempp.

Cordes is regarded within DC as a hard negotiator and efficiency champion – qualities that look set to bring him into direct conflict with Germany’s prominent metal work unions as Mercedes continues to slash production costs.

Factory workers have been on strike this month over hours and conditions, and executives are offering to cut their own pay if staff agree to work longer and more flexible hours.Tipped to replace Cordes at Mercedes’ truck division is Andreas Renschler, the current boss at Smart. Former Mitsubishi manager Ulrich Walker is expected to take over at Smart.

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