Continental said Alan Hippe, the supplier's chief finance officer and head of the rubber division, will leave the company at his own request on Feb. 28. Media reports say Hippe will join ThyssenKrupp, Europe's biggest steelmaker, as its head of finance.
Schaeffler co-owners Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler and her son Georg Schaeffler along with CEO Juergen Geißinger and legal adviser Rolf Koerfer will join Continental's board. Schaeffler will propose Koerfer to replace Von Gruenberg, 66, as Continental chairman at Continental's annual shareholders meeting on April 23.
Von Gruenberg will advise Continental on creating an independent rubber group. The company has been exploring the sale of the division to reduce its debt burden but has been unable to find a buyer in the current poor economic climate.
"I am very pleased that we have found a solution which reflects the interests of all those involved," von Gruenberg said. "For the task of developing an entrepreneurial concept for an independent rubber group, I am ready to assist with my advice."
Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler said: "I am very happy that what belongs together can now grow together."
Schaeffler and Continental had been in a bitter power struggle after Schaeffler launched its bid for the bigger company.
The takeover saddled Schaeffler with a net debt of more than 10 billion euros. Schaeffler pressed for the integration of the Schaeffler and Continental automotive businesses to create synergies and to help it finance its debt.
Schaeffler, of Herzogenaurach, Bavaria, makes bearings, engine components and clutches under the INA, FAG, Luk brands. In 2007, its revenues were 8.9 billion euros.
With targeted annual sales of 25 billion euros for 2008, Continental, of Hanover, Germany, is one of the top global automotive suppliers.
E-mail Paul McVeigh at [email protected]