On May 7th, 1998 Jürgen Schrempp, CEO of Daimler, and Bob Eaton, CEO of Chrysler appeared together at a press conference in London to announce a merger between the two companies. It was emphasized that this was not a takeover by one company of the other, but rather a fusion between equal parties. Schrempp deemed the merger of Daimler and Chrysler “a match made in heaven”.
After two years, Co-chairman Eaton announced his resignation, leaving Schrempp to be the sole head. In 2006 Schrempp passed this position on to Dieter Zetsche. By March 2007 the first speculations began to emerge that DaimlerChrysler would sell the ChryslerGroup.
Since the merger, Chrysler had reduced its net worth by 35 billion Euros, while the net worth of DaimlerChrysler has been reduced by another 50 billion by the end of Schrempp’s resignation in 2005. On May 14th, 2007 the sale of ChryslerGroup to Cerberus was announced. During a special general assembly on October 4th, 2007 it was officially decided to rename the company Daimler AG.
For Mercedes-Benz this merger to DaimlerChrysler AG seriously damaged the company’s image, which many attribute to quality issues and cost-cutting. The leading role which Daimler-Benz AG once had in the auto industry has still not been completely restored.
A study conducted by the consulting firm McKinsey estimated that the company’s value had dropped during Schrempp’s reign by 74 billion dollars.