Jürgen Schrempp

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Jürgen Erich Schrempp (born September 15, 1944 in Freiburg im Breisgau ) is a German manager . From May 1995 to December 2005 he was Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler-Benz AG and DaimlerChrysler AG .

Professional background

Promotion at Daimler-Benz

After training as a car mechanic at what was then Daimler-Benz AG , Schrempp studied at the engineering school in Offenburg , the predecessor institution of the Offenburg University of Applied Sciences , graduated as an engineer in 1967 and was then employed again at Daimler-Benz AG. In 1974 he went to South Africa and worked in the management of the local subsidiary Mercedes-Benz of South Africa until 1987 , with an interruption from 1982 to 1984 when he was successfully restructuring the commercial vehicle subsidiary Euclid Trucks in the USA .


In 1989 he became CEO of the newly formed subsidiary DASA . To reduce their losses, he began a tough cost-cutting program called "Dolores" ( Dollar Low Rescue ). 16,000 employees were laid off and several sites closed. In 1993, Schrempp was responsible for the purchase of the Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker , which was sold after a few years with a loss of 5.5 billion DM . He was Martine Dornier-Tiefenthaler's opponent in the legal dispute about the incomprehensible break-up of the aircraft manufacturer Dornier , which he had started as DASA boss and was only able to legalize by paying further high compensation in the three-digit million range from Daimler-Benz to the former Dornier owners .

Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler-Benz

In 1995 Edzard Reuter had to give up the chairmanship of Daimler-Benz AG. Schrempp was appointed as his successor. He said goodbye to Reuter's concept of an "integrated technology company" and instead began to focus on the auto business again.

In the mid-1990s, Schrempp polarized the public discussion of economic and social policy considerably, and above all provoked Union politicians. Outrage was mainly triggered by his public announcement that his company would not pay a penny in income tax in Germany until the turn of the millennium. He said: “You won't get anything more from us”.

Chairman of the Board of Management of DaimlerChrysler

Under his direction, Daimler-Benz AG and the US company Chrysler merged to form DaimlerChrysler in 1998 . He put the group through stakes in the Asian automaker Mitsubishi Motors with 37% and Hyundai Motor Company with 10%.

Since the participation in Mitsubishi Motors in particular turned out to be more and more lossy, Schrempp came under increasing criticism from shareholders and public opinion during his tenure. His harshest critics include the Freiburg teacher and author Jürgen Grässlin and the Würzburg economist Ekkehard Wenger .

Nevertheless, the supervisory board headed by Hilmar Kopper extended his contract as CEO in April 2004 by four years. However, the board decided against Schrempp's will to end its involvement with Mitsubishi Motors.

The Manager magazine estimated Schrempp's annual income, including stock options for the year 2002 to at least 10.8 million euros, with which he was the highest-paid German manager.

He is a staunch advocate of the idea of shareholder value and is known for his tough management methods, which critics often characterize with expressions like Rambo or Wild West style. In contrast, the DaimlerChrysler AG share price rose only slightly from 30 to 35 euros during his tenure, while the corresponding indices rose sharply.

Schrempp was a member of the supervisory board of Allianz SE until June 30, 2004 .

DaimlerChrysler withdraws

On July 28, 2005, Jürgen Schrempp announced, surprisingly, that he would be stepping down as CEO on December 31, 2005. His successor was Dieter Zetsche . Schrempp gave the impression of leaving the group after successful management. In view of the positive development, he agreed with the Supervisory Board that the end of 2005 was the ideal time for a change in the company's management. What is striking, however, is the fact that Schrempp vacated his post without a severance payment and that the Supervisory Board's notification of his resignation did not contain any special words of thanks, as is customary with resignations. It is also noteworthy that Schrempp was not appointed to the Supervisory Board. It should be noted here that due to a thoughtless and unfounded statement by Schrempp to the press, $ 300 million in compensation had to be paid retrospectively to the former Chrysler shareholders, whereby only $ 250 million could be recovered in a lawsuit brought by DaimlerChrysler against the insurance company. This judgment, with the subject matter of whether there was an insured management error or not, became final shortly before its departure against the insurance company, but indirectly also confirmed Schrempp's error and thus $ 50 million outstanding.

The stock market reacted with a strong price increase. The German Protection Association for Securities Possession also welcomed the resignation. Schrempp destroyed billions of dollars. Contrary to the philosophy of shareholder value - for which Schrempp stood - the share price fell from 101 to just under 35 euros. In addition to many smaller bankruptcies, such as the stake in Mitsubishi or the Smart , the conversion of the company from a multinational to a global corporation that Schrempp was aiming for was also unsuccessful.

Jürgen Schrempp sued the Hamburg Regional Court and the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court for an injunction against the Schrempp biographer and critical shareholder spokesman Jürgen Grässlin because of his criticism of the nature of the resignation announcement and the business policy. On September 22, 2009, the Federal Court of Justice confirmed in its judgment that the interview on July 28, 2005 in the SWR was a matter of freedom of expression (Az. VI ZR 19/08). The judgment of the OLG, which Schrempp had found right, was thus overturned.

Activities in South Africa

Schrempp is currently Honorary Consul General of the Republic of South Africa and Chairman of the Southern Africa Initiative of German Business (SAFRI). In October 2006, Minister of State Alec Erwin personally appointed him to the board of directors of the national South African airline, South African Airways .


Schrempp has been married to his long-time office manager and assistant Lydia Deininger since 2000 . He has a daughter and a son with her, and two sons who are now living abroad from his first marriage to Renate Lutz. Schrempp is considered a great friend of South Africa, where he owns another residence in addition to a villa in Kitzbühel.

His younger brother Wolfgang Schrempp also made a career at DaimlerChrysler - in just a few years, originally head of a vocational school, he was promoted to Managing Director of the Italian subsidiary DaimlerChrysler Italia and had been responsible for DaimlerChrysler Australia and Pacific since 2006 . On December 31, 2009, Wolfgang Schrempp left the Group for reasons of age.

After leaving the Baden-Württemberg state parliament, his older brother Günter Schrempp worked as managing director of the internet provider ROL3 , in which debis - a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler AG - was a minority shareholder. As a qualified engineer, he has been an independent consultant for construction, transport, management and IT since 2000 .

On April 4, 2007, DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche informed shareholders that "Ms. Schrempp, as far as I know, will continue to work as office manager for Jürgen Schrempp". According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung of May 7, 2007, this statement confirms the reputation of the group "as the largest family company in Germany", where Schrempp had brought Lydia Schrempp, née Deininger, into a position with a minimum income of € 200,000 during his time as CEO. In November 2007 the supervisory board took action and asked the chairman of the board, Dieter Zetsche, to clarify this matter. Daimler AG announced that Ms. Schrempp was leaving the company on March 31, 2008 for personal reasons.

Jürgen Schrempp was a participant and occasionally a member of the steering committee of the Bilderberg Conferences in 1997 near Atlanta (USA), in Italy in 2004 and in Germany in 2005.

Jürgen Schrempp has his main residence in the south of Munich.


Individual evidence

  1. http://www.manager-magazin.de/koepfe/unternehmerarchiv/0,2828,303555,00.html
  2. Der Spiegel 26/1996, p. 22 f.
  3. Der Spiegel (March 18, 2010): End of the family era , (accessed on March 18, 2010)
  4. Der Spiegel (November 22, 2007): Lydia Schrempp should go , by Michael Freitag and Martin Noe, (accessed on November 24, 2007)
  5. Der Spiegel : Lydia Schrempp leaves Daimler on February 25, 2008
  6. ^ Pepe Escobar : Bilderberg strikes again - Asia Times, May 10, 2005, (accessed June 17, 2007).
  7. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF file; 6.59 MB)


  • Jürgen Grässlin : Jürgen E. Schrempp. The Lord of the Stars. Droemer Knaur, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-426-27075-7 .
  • David Waller: The strategist's hour. Jürgen Schrempp and the DaimlerChrysler deal. Econ, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-430-19490-3 .
  • Jürgen Grässlin: Daimler-Benz. The concern and its republic. Droemer Knaur, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-426-80064-0 .
  • Jürgen Grässlin: The Daimler disaster: from a model company to a restructuring case? Droemer, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-426-27267-9 .
  • Jürgen Grässlin: Worn out ?! The Daimler disaster continues. Knaur, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-426-77977-4 .

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