This was a surprise for many: Daimler will bring ex-BMW and ex-VW boss Bernd Pischetsrieder, ex-Bosch manager Bernd Bohr and Siemens boss Joe Kaeser to the supervisory board next year. This is to meet demands from shareholder groups for more auto competence on the Daimler Supervisory Board. Linde boss and car guy Wolfgang Reitzle has been addressed, but is not coming (for the time being?).
Daimler supervisory board chief Manfred Bischoff was not entirely sure whether his idea of bringing Linde boss Wolfgang Reitzle to the Daimler supervisory board would promise success. Again and again he checked out opinions on Reitzle in the circle of friends, which, in terms of automotive competence, gave Reitzle the highest praise, but all contained an indication of the potential for conflict to be expected with Reitzle: "With WR on the supervisory board, the Daimler board and especially Dieter Zetsche would have none easy game, ”says a manager from the management of a German company who knows the Daimler internals very well. “Even in the auto industry, Reitzle can't fool Linde after ten years. Even today he could successfully lead from the standpoint of every automobile company in the world, ”praises a former BMW board colleague. "What he did with the provincial veal shop Linde, he would also do at Daimler and at least strive for in the AR: to become the undisputed number one in the premium segment."
However, Reitzle would have to become CEO to do this, a position on the supervisory board is not necessarily enough. Above all, the supervisory board has a controlling function; stock corporation law does not permit interventions in current day-to-day business. A companion sees it differently: “Reitzle would also be a driving force in Daimler AR that would put pressure on the Board of Management. He would question everything very critically: How could China go to the rushes like that? Is the cooperation with Renault really strategically correct for a premium manufacturer? Where should Daimler be in 20 years? Luxury vehicles or inexpensive mass-produced products? Is it good to push cars into the market at high discounts? There are many unanswered questions that Reitzle would mercilessly demand to be answered. "
Bernd Pischetsrieder's aspired but not yet confirmed appointment is probably the biggest surprise. A short while ago, he had told friends that in addition to his post as AR Chairman of Munich Re (since the beginning of 2013), he had no further mandate. It must have been the persuasiveness of Daimler-AR boss Manfred Bischoff to coax Pischetsrieder out of the blue. On the other hand, it is no secret that “Pischi”, as his friends call him, “loves cars more than anything”. He has been the majority shareholder in a classic car dealer on Lake Chiemsee since summer, which does not seem to fill him out.
It is no speculation that Bischoff wanted to bring Reitzle. It is unclear why this will not happen. There are no doubts about his competence. But: Reitzle has repeatedly made it clear what is going wrong in Germany's auto industry and often mentions Daimler AG. It is not known whether Bischoff abandoned his plan or whether Reitzle finally canceled him. Perhaps Reitzle's appointment to the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG also fails due to conditions that cannot currently be met. Rumor has it that the chair of Siemens' supervisory board could soon become vacant if AR boss Cromme was unable to consolidate his contested position. Here, too, the technology-savvy troublemaker would be better: Motivator Reitzle a good choice. And certainly not uninterested.
Bischoff may be afraid of a conflict between Reitzle and Zetsche. "Zoff on the Supervisory Board wants to avoid everything in the world," says an insider. “Bischoff is a conflict-averse moderator rather than a critical critic. Perhaps Reitzle said too clearly at first talks what would have to change, making it clear that he would not accept a role as a board member without influence. Bischoff might have been scared. And the chairman certainly wants to avoid major changes or conflicts during his term in office. ”However, this is speculation. In addition, Reitzle is not to be removed from the list of potential AR candidates at Daimler. Questions will surely be asked at the Annual General Meeting in April 2014.
Interesting what can be heard from Wolfsburg. There Pischetsrieder received his salary as a VW board member until 2012. It is certainly not amused that the ex-VW boss now works for a competitor, if only on the supervisory board. The fact that he hardly had any friends in Wolfsburg and is not exactly classified as successful can be seen in the sarcastic dripping comment from a VW manager: "Pischi is then probably our best man at Daimler."