New DaimlerChrysler Honcho Axes Two Top Marketers

21 November 2000

Allemagne axeman, Dieter Zetsche, the new chief executive at DaimlerChrysler’s troubled Chrysler unit, decapitated the jobs of three of his most senior executives within hours of marching into the company’s Auburn Hills, Michigan, head office.

Two of the luckless trio were marketing bosses: Chrysler’s top sales and marketing executive Theodor Cunningham, and Tony Cervone, head of the communications team. The other instant casualty was Kathleen Oswald, chief administrative officer and Chrysler's most senior woman manager.

Zetsche and his boss, DaimlerChrysler chairman Juergen Schrempp, then summoned around four hundred of Chrysler's top remaining managers, telling them: "We don't have much time to get things right." But the meeting was assured that it was "premature" to decide yet about further firings.

The moves, which were widely expected, are a sampler of what could be an extensive and far-reaching restructuring at Chrysler where Zetsche is under intense pressure to reverse its sagging fortunes.

Many analysts believe he will shutter some factories, perhaps as early as this weekend, cutting production of sports-utility vehicles, pickups and large cars to reduce bulging inventory.

News source: Wall Street Journal