Exactly two years after Daimler-Benz and Chrysler Corp. announced a ``merger of equals,'' the German automaker is expected to replace Chrysler's top American executive with a German on Friday, completing a takeover that has demoralized U.S. employees.
``Morale is going to sink much lower than it's been,'' said one insider at DaimlerChrysler's Auburn Hills, Mich. headquarters. ``I can't imagine how they believe this is going to be the road to healing. This one confounds me.''
Sources told Reuters that DaimlerChrysler's supervisory board will meet on Friday, the second anniversary of the merger, and would likely replace Chrysler group chief James Holden with Dieter Zetsche, currently head of the commercial vehicle unit.
Holden's likely departure would come just a year after the German-dominated board forced out his American predecessor, Thomas Stallkamp, shattering any lingering illusions that the 1998 formation of DaimlerChrysler was a partnership rather than a takeover.
The expected move has demoralized Chrysler's U.S. employees and car dealers, already shaken by a steady stream of departing top American executives.