So Jurgen E. Shrempp is leaving the DaimlerChrysler CEO’s suite a year earlier than planned. The New York Times speculates that the automaker’s surprising second quarter earnings gave Shrempp the cover he needed to exit now. Using terms such as "embattled" to describe the 60-year-old executive and labeling the company "trouble-prone" understates the enormity of the Chrysler division’s problems.
As Ford and General Motors continue to struggle, what is Chrysler’s answer to its woes? Why, to bring back its former chairman as its pitchman. Brilliant! Genius! Too bad that Lee Iacocca is unknown to a generation of car buyers. To make matters worse, he is paired with the actor best known as Seinfeld’s George Costanza.
DaimlerChrysler’s stock rose more almost 10 percent on the news of Shrempp’s impending departure. Maybe the company should borrow its new advertising slogan from a song that is less Rodgers and Hammerstein and more traditional blues: "Been down so long, it looks like up to me."