Mercedes boss likely to depart

Mercedes group marketing chief Joachim Schmidt is thought to be leaving the German car company in mysterious circumstances.

Sources suggest that his departure could be a part of a company shake-up to address a recent decline in sales and profitability at the DaimlerChrysler-owned marque.

The head of DaimlerChrysler’s European commercial vehicle division, Klaus Maier, is tipped to replace Schmidt as head of sales and marketing at Mercedes if, as is expected, he leaves later this week.

The news follows a turbulent few months at DaimlerChrysler. The company was rocked by a recent sales scandal, while fourth-quarter operating profit at Mercedes fell by 97 per cent, to just ââ¬20m (£14m) as its Smart division continued to struggle. Last year, DaimlerChrysler announced the retirement of Eckhard Panka, head of its sales organisation. Panka is being investigated by the state prosecutor’s office in Stuttgart in connection with the construction of a house on the Spanish island of Mallorca.

Schmidt would be the most senior Mercedes official to leave the company since Eckhard Cordes took over as chief executive in October. A Mercedes spokesman refuses to comment, calling news of Schmidt’s departure “pure speculation”.

The company also recently fired two executives – head of sales Jürgen Fahr and head of the Hamburg sales office Walter Missing – after discovering what a spokeswoman calls “irregularities” within the organisation.

Schmidt has been head of sales and marketing at Mercedes since 1999. He joined Daimler Benz AG in 1979, leaving briefly in 1986 before returning to the company in 1988.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here