The German business paper Handelsblatt reports that Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Ernst Lieb, a 36-year Daimler veteran, has been fired for “serious and repeated” violations of the company’s internal finance compliance rules. Per the Dow Jones [via FoxBusiness] translation,
Lieb is said to have remodeled his house in New York at the expense of Daimler and settled personal golf club contributions through the company, the executive is reported as saying.
Lieb has also been accused of providing favors at the company’s expense, such as renting cars in exchange for flight upgrades
In the words of one “longtime Daimler executive,”
Ernst was warned, but he has done it again
According to Handelsblatt, internal whistleblowers are likely responsible for Lieb’s firing, as Daimler’s new “zero tolerance” policy on such misconduct outweighed the loyalty felt for such a long-standing executive. But there will be consequences from Lieb’s firing, as the paper notes that Lieb had done much to repair shattered relations with Mercedes’ US dealers (sure enough, a planned dealer meeting has been canceled). But Daimler had to stand firm: six years ago, a similar issue arose when a German sales manager was found to have used company funds to renovate his house in Majorca. Now, at least, there’s no question as to where Daimler stands on the conduct of even its top executives.