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Chrysler: Crafting a Reprieve
By Martha Hindes with Myron D. Stokes

Is it possible that Juergen Schrempp's vision of grandeur at DaimlerChrysler clouded his sensibilities as he continued to wrest control from the company's American leaders?

It could have lured him, now solidly in control as chairman, into believing he was untouchable. With that kind of comfort level, he could feel free to reveal that the acquisition of Chrysler was a carefully-planned coup. Schrempp's admission of as much to the Financial Times in London could be seen as a blunder of blind arrogance. Then again, what if it was a brilliant strategy meant to manipulate key players in the drama? There's little room for a middle ground in analyzing his reasons.

Wakeup Call

In either event, his admission was stunning enough news to shake those on both sides of the Atlantic out of a sense of inevitability and begin to formulate actions to reshape, or even eliminate, the merger.

It also put Juergen Schrempp at risk. And it opened the door for a possible wild card to usurp his power with the installation of someone as chairman who was not damaged goods.

When Schrempp bullied the American auto company by removing its intelligentsia at the top, the fallout went beyond simply beating another auto entity into submission and angering one of its top shareholders.

Schrempp's actions had begun to stir doubts. And they were gaining attention from three NATO members and longtime trading partners, the governments of the U.S., Germany and Kuwait.

That raised the possibility of some action from at least one of the governments involved, who could not afford to have even a mega-corporation such as a DaimlerChrysler impact the ship of state.

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