Robert Lutz, Chrysler's vice chairman and former president who is nearing retirement, requested a paid leave of absence
a week before Chrysler and Daimler-Benz AG announced their historic merger.
'He is on leave at his request, and basically he's looking hard at what he wants to do post-retirement,' said Steve Harris, Chrysler vice president of communications.
Lutz, 66, wants to avoid any conflict of interest with his employer, Harris said.
'As you know, Bob has many talents. ... We have to put him on leave just until he figures out what he wants to do,' said Chrysler President Tom Stall-kamp.
While on leave, Lutz will continue to sit on Chrysler's board of directors, and he plans to attend the company's annual shareholders meeting Thursday, May 21, in Englewood, Colo.
In January, Lutz said he expected to retire later this year.
The day the merger was announced, Chrysler Chairman Robert Eaton said Lutz would not have a management role in the new DaimlerChrysler company because of his approaching retirement. DC will be formed after approval by shareholders and government regulators in late August or early September, Eaton said.
Lutz is writing a book about his management philosophy called Guts: Unconventional Business Wisdom from Chrysler's Dramatic Second Turnaround. It is expected to be published in the fall.