Jurgen Schrempp plans big changes to speed the integration of DaimlerChrysler. His pending reorganization of the management board is needed and timely. The current 17-member board is too big and unwieldy, and responsibility is too scattered.
Appointing board members to manage specific product groups, such as minivans, passenger cars, trucks and buses will accelerate the merger. DaimlerChrysler now basically operates as two independent automakers within a holding company.
But full integration threatens two critical assets of D/C - the Mercedes-Benz brand and Chrysler's management culture. Both must survive.
Sources say the various D/C brands will be combined in segment-based business units. For example, Mercedes and Chrysler passenger cars will be joined in one group and Mercedes and Jeep sport-utility vehicles in another.
That makes organizational sense, but threatens brand purity.
It also threatens Chrysler's culture. Chrysler executives, with their entrepreneurial vim and vigor, have built a powerful company almost from scratch in the past 10 years.
D/C anticipated the danger to its brands. Executives wrote a brand bible earlier this year to position the brands and to protect them. Now maybe the company needs a cultural bible, too.