By on February 25, 2013

“Dieter Zetsche is lucky that he can stay for three more years,” writes Der Spiegel in Germany. The labor side of Daimler’s Supervisory Board had demanded Dr. Z’s head, the magazine writes. After long debates with Daimler’s Supervisory Board Chairman Manfred Bischoff, a compromise was found.

Says Der Spiegel:

“Early in the year, Daimler Works Council chief Erich Klemm and metalworker union boss Thomas Klebe approached Bischoff. They announced that the labor side of the Supervisory Board will unanimously vote against an extension of CEO Zetsches’ contract.”

Labor, but also management criticized Zetsche’s style, or rather the lack thereof. Bischoff threatened that he could veto the decision. In a large German corporation, the Supervisory Board consists of 50 percent representatives of labor, the other half represent the capital. If votes are tied, the Chairman can break the tie.

Instead, a compromise was reached. Zetsche’s contract was extended only for three years instead of five. Wolfgang Bernhard, unloved by the unions for his gruff style, was sent to manage trucks.

For everybody’s edification, a German Supervisory Board  is not a Board of Management. The Supervisory Board supervises, it does not manage. The Supervisory Board cannot tell management what to do. All it can is approve or disapprove management’s proposals.

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6 Comments on “Dr. Z Nearly Lost His Job...”

  • avatar

    thanks for the explanation and insight into what seemed rather odd.

  • avatar

    Unfortunately the labor side of the Supervisory Board doesn’t see the value in Wolfgang Bernhard.
    He was the only German Exec when at Chrysler that actually had talent. Down at the unionized plant floor they liked his gruff style. Got to meet him once and he has a personality fit to lead a company in need of change in culture, especially MB.

  • avatar

    I think people in North America like his appearance rather than his Policies, it’s hard to keep a active Man down is it not?

  • avatar

    “The supervisory board cannot tell management what to do. All it can do is approve or disapprove managements proposals.” That is ONE BIG PILE of hairsplitting, Bertel.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The supervisory board can suggest that management take actions which the supervisory board will find agreeable, or the supervisory board can suggest to management which bus line passes by the welfare office.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not really hairsplitting. Daimler has a Supervisory Board AND a Board of Management. The relationships are tricky, and unlike any American corporate structure. I think you may be thinking the Supervisory Board is like an American Board of Directors. It’s not.

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