MORE THAN anything, DaimlerChrysler is a coming together of people. The new company will employ 421,000. But 18 members of the management board -10 from Daimler-Benz and eight from Chrysler - will have ultimate responsibility.
Culture clash is the biggest worry. The tone will be set at the top. Juergen Schrempp must get along with Bob Eaton, Juergen Hubbert must get along with Tom Stallkamp, Germans must get along with Americans.
There are fundamental differences. For example, most Chrysler executives speak only English, while all Daimler executives speak at least two languages. But there are also striking similarities among men from different backgrounds who have been schooled in the same global auto industry.
Here is a look at the personalities on the DaimlerChrysler board.
Born: 22 April 1942 in Calw, Germany
Education: Law, economics at universities in Tubingen and Heidelberg; doctorate in 1973
Languages: German, English
Bischoff left Daimler's board once but returned after Daimler bought his company German Aerospace in 1995.
He first joined Daimler as project manager for Mercedes-Benz off-road vehicles in 1976 (G-Wagen was only one built) after teaching at Alfred Weber Institute at the University of Heidelberg 1968-76.
Moved to international finance in 1981, and board of Daimler-Benz do Brasil in 1988. Left in 1989 for German Aerospace. Named Daimler Aerospace chairman after its purchase.
Rejoined Daimler board 1 April 1997. Contract runs to 2000.
President of European Association of Aerospace Industries 1995-96.
Strategy and Business Development
Born: 25 November 1950 in Neumuenster, Germany
Education: University of Hamburg, economics
Hobbies: Skiing, sports
Daimler-Benz's fast-talking head of corporate strategy was a key figure in the merger negotiations. A trusted advisor to Juergen Schrempp, Cordes attended an early meeting between Schrempp and Bob Eaton on 11 February in Geneva.
'He knows answers to almost all questions,' said a colleague.
Cordes joined Daimler-Benz in 1976 after studying economics at the University of Hamburg. He started out as an assistant to the Sindelfingen plant director. Next came a series of finance jobs: in charge of investments for Mercedes passenger cars; chief controller for new commercial vehicle projects; and chief financial officer at Mercedes do Brasil in Sao Paulo.
In 1989 he moved to Daimler's AEG unit as financial controller. His main duty was to prepare the sale of the troubled subsidiary.
Cordes joined the Daimler management board in April, 1997, responsible for group strategy and industrial partnerships.
Chrysler Sales and Marketing
Born: 12 May 1951 in Windsor, Ontario
Education: Master of Business Administration, 1990, Michigan State University, and Bachelor of Science in Political Science, 1973, Western Michigan University
Hobbies: Golf, boating
Holden is a salesman whose talents extend to general management. He started his career with Ford in 1973 but took a sales job at Chrysler in 1981, fleet development manager in Truck Operations.
Over the years, he rose through the sales organization, and on 22 January 1996 he became executive vice president for sales and marketing.
At that level in Chrysler, you do something else as well. Just before the DaimlerChrysler talks started, he also took charge of minivan operations, Mopar parts, communications, and Chrysler de Mexico.
Daimler-Benz Commercial Vehicles
Born: 19 May 1946 in Stuttgart
Education: University of Tubingen, history, theology, political science; Stanford University, MBA
Languages: German, English, Latin
his star is Rising in Daimler-Benz ranks. Since joining the company as head of commercial vehicles in August 1996, the world's largest truckmaker has turned its first profit in 20 years.
Lauk began the Nissan Diesel talks months ago and is the key person in the negotiations.
His father was a missionary in China. Lauk studied for the priesthood, but chose the business world instead. He received an MBA from prestigious Stanford University in 1977, then spent six years with Boston Consulting Group in the USA and Germany.
From 1984 to 1989 he led Zinser Textilmaschinen GmbH in Ebersbach, Germany. He entered the auto industry in 1989 as Audi's deputy chairman in charge of finance, business development and marketing. In June 1992 he moved to VEBA AG in Duesseldorf as head of finance.
He carried his highly analytical style to every Mercedes-Benz truck plant in the world after taking over, then drew up a strategy for restoring profits.
Born: 6 June 1943 in Pforzheim, Germany
Education: Doctorate of Law, 1972
Languages: German, English, French
Mangold has had the least involvement with autos of all members of the DaimlerChrysler board. His expertise is textiles.
He retains responsibility for financial services subsidiary Debis, but his board position is non-voting.
He joined Daimler board 1 April 1995 from German mail order company Quelle Schickedanz, where he was chairman from 1991. Previously he ran the German textile industry trade organization Thyssen Trust, and the artificial fiber and filter producer Rhodia.
He was named Debis chairman 25 May 1995. His contract runs to 2000.
Born: 5 May 1941 in Milan, Michigan
Education: Bachelor of Science in human resource development, 1982, Oakland University
Hobbies: active in university
Pawley is a shirt-sleeve visionary who talks directly to workers and chief executives. Other American manufacturers were too proud to see the benefits of the Toyota Manufacturing System. Pawley was amazed when he saw it in action.
He benchmarked it, adapted it, and has started to spread the Chrysler Operating System to the plants around the world that report to him.
Chrysler's reputation for quality lags Ford's and GM's, and Pawley is charged with correcting the situation.
The key is education. He cares about the workers. He has developed a method of teaching staff to pass on new skills to other workers, and to make the factory work more interesting.
His interest in education is broader, and he is a trustee of the Chrysler Institute of Engineering and Oakland University.
Daimler-Benz Sales and Marketing
Born: 5 May 1953 in Istanbul, Turkey
Education: Technical University in Karlsruhe, electronics
Languages: German, English, Spanish
Hobbies: Horses, motorbike riding
Lanky, moustachioed Zetsche has spent a varied career at Daimler-Benz.
He was in charge of passenger-car development before being named head of sales and marketing in 1995.
His overseas experience includes stints as president of Mercedes-Benz Argentina in Buenos Aires and president of Freightliner Corp., the US commercial vehicle subsidiary.
Zetsche joined Daimler after studying electronics at the Technical University in Karlsruhe. His first job was in corporate strategy.
Zetsche likes horseback riding and riding his racing bike. Colleagues say he is unusually friendly and open for a big-time auto executive.
'Recently you can tell that he has been under strain,' said one. 'But he would never complain.'
Robert Eaton, Co-CEO
Born: 13 February 1940 in Buena Vista, Colorado
Education: Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering, 1963, from University of Kansas. Attended the Executive Program at Dartmouth College in 1981
Hobbies: Scuba diving, skiing, hunting and golf
Eaton looks meek in public, but he's powerful in private. He made a team player of the powerfully independent Bob Lutz. He rebuffed Lee Iacocca's attempt to return to power, and he defended Chrysler's management from investor Kirk Kerkorian. And without a word leaking out, he arranged DaimlerChrysler.
He spent a career at General Motors, much of it in technical areas. He was president of General Motors Europe when Chrysler hired him on 16 March 1992 as vice chairman and chief operating officer. He succeeded Iacocca as chairman and CEO on 1 January 1993.
Born: 3 April 1942 in Hannover, Germany
Education: Berlin Technical University, engineering
Languages: German, English
Tropitzsch is Daimler's link to the powerful German unions. As head of human resources, he negotiates labor contracts.
He joined Daimler-Benz straight from university in 1969. He was plant manager of the Gaggenau, Germany, truck plant 1984-86 and headed Daimler's largest car plant in Sindelfingen, Germany, 1987-89. Tropitzsch was in charge of human resources at Mercedes-Benz AG 1989-97. He was elevated to the Daimler-Benz board last year, surviving the merger of Mercedes-Benz and its parent.
Born: 15 September 1944 in Freiburg, Germany
Education: Qualified as engineer
Languages: German, English
Aggressive and flamboyant, Schrempp has cut costs and restructured businesses with a vigor rarely seen in the German corporate world.
He spent the past three years reshaping Daimler-Benz and refocusing it on cars and trucks by selling more than a dozen businesses. Daimler returned to profit in 1997.
He started humbly as an apprentice motor mechanic at a Mercedes-Benz dealership in his hometown of Freiburg, Germany. He joined Daimler-Benz in 1967 and skyrocketed to prominence after being sent to the USA in 1982 as president of Euclid Inc., an ailing heavy truck unit that he restructured and sold.
When Daimler-Benz reorganized in 1989 Schrempp became president and chief executive officer of newly-formed Deutsche Aerospace AG (DASA), now Daimler-Benz Aerospace. He was named chairman of Daimler-Benz in 1994 and took the post in May 1995.
After he folded Mercedes-Benz AG into the Daimler holding company last year, Mercedes Chairman Helmut Werner quit.
'He was a friend of mine,' said Schrempp, 'but the structure of the company at the time was not designed for two.'