Chairman Robert Eaton expects a Chrysler Corp. executive to become head of DaimlerChrysler AG in the future.
'I expect that (President) Tom Stallkamp or one of the people here will take over after Juergen Schrempp,' Eaton said.
Eaton also insists he will have an equal role as co-chairman of the combined companies along with Schrempp, chairman of Daimler-Benz AG.
'I am not a lame duck,' he said. 'I will have the equivalent authority and responsibility as Juergen until the day I walk out of here.'
Eaton will retire after three years as co-chairman of DaimlerChrysler, and then Schrempp will be sole chairman. But once Schrempp retires, executives from both sides of the company will have an equal opportunity at the top office, Eaton said.
'Everybody's got a totally equal opportunity and ultimately these (Chrysler) guys and gals will shine,' he said.
He added that efforts to hire and promote women and minorities will continue after the merger.
Eaton said a DaimlerChrysler diversity statement has been completed. He also said Chrysler has made significant strides in diversifying its workforce, and the same effort will be made at DaimlerChrysler.
But he acknowledged that there may not be as much emphasis placed on workforce diversity in Germany.
Said Eaton: 'It's not a problem in any way. They're just a few years behind where we are on this issue. There are other issues that they're a few years ahead on.'