Economy & Politics

Continental boss resigns prematurely

Continental CEO Elmar Degenhart will resign at the end of November for health reasons. (Archive image) Photo: dpa / Julian Stratenschulte

In the past few weeks there has been speculation about a change at the top of Continental. Now the Dax company announced that CEO Elmar Degenhart is leaving shortly. What is the reason?

Hanover – Continental CEO Elmar Degenhart resigns early. As the Dax group from Hanover announced on Thursday evening, the 61-year-old informed the supervisory board of his decision. Accordingly, Degenhart is giving up the position at the top of the company “for reasons of immediate health care” at the end of November.

The top manager had led the world’s second largest auto supplier after Bosch for more than eleven years. Degenhart asked the supervisory body to agree to the cancellation of his contract, which actually ran until August 2024. Chief supervisor Wolfgang Reitzle wants to decide on the successor at short notice. “We are concentrating on the seamless continuation and continuity in the ongoing transformation of Continental from a tire manufacturer and automotive supplier to a future-oriented technology and software company for mobility,” he explained.

The reason is Degenhart’s health

A company spokesman confirmed that Degenhart’s reasons for resignation were personal, health reasons. The CEO himself stated that he was “recently made aware of the importance of immediately placing precautionary measures for my health in the foreground in my personal life planning. I would have loved to continue working on our structural reorganization and our profitable growth and future program ”. However, he now has to pursue other priorities.

Reitzle was quoted by the company with praise and thanks to Degenhart: “We all very much regret Mr. Degenhart’s decision and his resignation. However, we respect his wishes and understand the personal reasons behind it. ”The engineer’s services to Continental are great.

No successor determined yet

Initially, there was no information on the exact time or a successor. According to industry circles, Nikolai Setzer, for example, should have a chance of a top job. The head of the main supplier division of Conti and trained industrial engineer was previously also the Group’s purchasing manager and has many years of experience, especially in the tire business.

In the past few weeks there had been reports of the alleged search for a replacement for Degenhart. As a result, individual members of the group of owners and supervisors are said to have wished for stronger action and more determination in the difficult corporate restructuring at Continental.

Company undergoing conversion to e-mobility

The Hanoverians are changing their core business from classic mechanics and hydraulics to more and more electromobility, sensor technology and software. As in the entire automotive industry, this structural break is not without pain: for some, the conversion is not going fast enough – while on the other hand, there has been strong criticism of the austerity course, especially among the workforce and the unions.

A total of at least 30,000 jobs at Continental are to be “changed” worldwide, 13,000 of them in Germany. In addition to relocations to other locations and the conversion to new qualification models, this also includes considerable job cuts.

The headwind from the workforce had recently become particularly strong when it became clear that the tire plant in Aachen – an important production location in a basically profitable division – should be closed by the end of 2021. The majority of the Supervisory Board approved the decision, which was also controversial in politics. The main owner of the Conti Group is the Schaeffler family, which also controls the Franconian industrial and automotive supplier of the same name.


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