STUTTGART - DaimlerChrysler AG last week announced a streamlining of its executive ranks that eliminates one of the last two American positions on the 13-member management board.
Under the reorganization, Tom Sidlik, 53, will replace 60-year-old Gary Valade as the board member responsible for global procurement and supply, effective Dec. 16. Sidlik had led purchasing at the Chrysler group only. The separate board position for Chrysler procurement has been eliminated.
The reduction of the American presence on the DaimlerChrysler board has been swift: Eight members of the original 18-member board formed in 1998 were American.
The loss of American presence on the board comes as an $8-billion lawsuit by financier Kirk Kerkorian heads for trial. It charges that the alleged merger of equals between Daimler-Benz and Chrysler was in fact a takeover.
Including Valade, DaimlerChrysler said three top managers will leave the management board late this year after their contracts expire Dec. 15. A young executive considered close to Chairman Juergen Schrempp will be added.
He is Bodo Uebber, 43, who takes over responsibility for DaimlerChry-sler Services, which includes finance and leasing activities.
Including Uebber, four of the 11 board members will be under 50.
Altogether, the supervisory board dealt with the contracts of seven executives.
The contracts of Dieter Zetsche, 49, CEO of the Chrysler group; Sidlik; and commercial vehicles boss Eckhard Cordes, 52, were extended by five years.
But Valade will leave the board, as will Manfred Bischoff, 60, head of aerospace and industrial activities; and DaimlerChrysler Services AG head Klaus Mangold, 59.
The contract of 61-year-old finance boss Manfred Gentz was extended by only one year. DaimlerChrysler cited the company's policy to review annually the contracts of board members older than 60.
Company sources say Gentz occasionally has clashed with Schrempp.