FRANKFURT Feb 10 Directors at Daimler
and Volkswagen are holding separate
closed-door meetings on Friday, each to discuss an executive
whose restructuring efforts have provoked anger among powerful
Daimler's 20-member supervisory board is meeting to discuss
a potential contract extension for Wolfgang Bernhard, who
currently heads up the company's trucks division, a source close
to the matter told Reuters. Bernhard has signalled, however,
that he does not want to stay on longer, the source added.
Bernhard's contract is due to end in February 2018. German
magazine Der Spiegel was first to report that Bernhard had
chosen not to extend his contract.
"This topic is being discussed," a source familiar with the
A Daimler spokesman said the company's supervisory board was
meeting on Friday, but declined to say what was on the agenda.
Bernhard's decision, if confirmed, would end an illustrious
career at Daimler where he began working in 1994 and moved
through the ranks to become head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, board
member for production for Mercedes-Benz Cars and eventually head
He defected to Volkswagen in 2005, where he headed the VW
brand, clashing with labour leaders before returning to Daimler
in 2009. Bernhard alienated Erich Klemm, a labour leader who
forced him out of a job as head of Mercedes-Benz cars in 2010.
In a separate meeting at Volkswagen, key members of the
board of directors are reviewing progress made by Herbert Diess
and his turnaround plans for the VW brand, which he oversees.
Volkswagen declined to comment.
Diess has repeatedly clashed with Volkswagen's powerful
labour chief Bernd Osterloh, who has accused him of undermining
a jointly agreed turnaround plan.
Both Bernhard and Diess have been seen as potential
candidates to become chief executives of their respective
"Neither of them have been given the time to harvest the
fruits of restructuring. To a large extent that has to do with
co-determination," said Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst,
referring to the policy at large German companies of appointing
labour representatives to the board of directors, giving them a
say in strategy.
(Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach Andreas Cremer, Jan Schwartz and
Edward Taylor; Editing by Mark Potter)