DETROIT - A thorny challenge facing German Dieter Zetsche as he takes over the Chrysler group is persuading employees to stay on board.
An executive recruiter in suburban Detroit says low morale has many Chrysler employees polishing their resumes.
'It's easier to recruit from there,' says recruiter Mark Angott. 'We've had a couple of people call us that would never have considered (other opportunities) in the past.'
Angott is president of Management Recruiters International in Rochester Hills, Mich.
Other recruiters say they have seen only a slight increase in the number of Chrysler employees looking to leave. But they say that could change depending on what happens at DaimlerChrysler.
Kathleen Sinclair, president of Executive Recruiters International Inc., a Detroit job placement firm that specializes in the auto industry, says people are flowing in and out of jobs across the auto industry, not just at Chrysler.
But the German-American culture clash is causing frustration, she says. As the German influence grows, professional women often find themselves 'looked on as secretaries.'
Sinclair describes Chrysler employees as 'cautious.' They do not necessarily consider themselves to be on a sinking ship, but are concerned that the merger has not turned out as they hoped it would, she says.
Roger Thomas, president of Diversified Recruiters Co. in Novi, Mich., says the departure of Jim Holden, head of DaimlerChrysler in North America, 'could scare a lot of people.'
Whether fear at the Chrysler group turns into a widespread employee exodus will likely depend on how Zetsche handles his new job.
Jim Mateyka, an automotive industry analyst with A.T. Kearney, says more Chrysler resumes started hitting the street when Holden's predecessor, the popular Tom Stallkamp, was fired last year.
'One of Zetsche's issues is going to be that he has got to get the troops rallied together again,' says Mateyka, who first met Zetsche when both men were working in South America in the early 1990s. 'He's been dealt a tough hand.'