BERLIN (Reuters) -- Daimler is grappling with the surprise resignation of executive board member Andreas Renschler, who had been rumored as a potential candidate to succeed CEO Dieter Zetsche.
Renschler, production chief at the Mercedes-Benz luxury-car division, is leaving the company "for personal reasons" with immediate effect, Daimler said in a statement on Tuesday.
He will be replaced by Markus Schaefer, head of production planning at Mercedes passenger cars who used to run the carmaker's U.S. plant in Vance, Alabama, and has more than 20 years of experience in car assembly, Daimler said.
Renschler's departure, which the automaker said was by "mutual consent" and "unanimously" approved by the supervisory board, comes at a sensitive time for the German automaker.
Mercedes is in the midst of ramping up production of the revamped C class, its best-selling model. The car will be produced in four factories globally, including the Alabama plant for the first time.