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International Case : The Restructuring of Daimler-Benz

In a 1996 address to stockholders and friends of Daimler-Benz, CEO Jurgen Schrempp reviewed the position of the diversified company. He started by saying "1995 was a dramatic year in the history of Daimler-Benz." It was also a year that the board of management made a major break with the past.

Daimler-Benz, with more than 300,000 employees worldwide, consisted of four major groups: The first, by far the biggest and most successful group, was Mercedes-Benz with about 200,000 employees. It is best known for its passenger cars and commercial vehicles. The second was the AEG Daimler-Benz industries in the business of rail systems, microelectronics, heavy diesel engines, energy systems technology, and automation. The third was the Aerospace Group in the business of aircraft (the company has a more than one-third interest in the Airbus consortium), space systems, defense and civil systems, and propulsion systems. Finally, there was the Inter Services Group consisting of systemshaus, financial services, insurance brokerage, trading, marketing services, mobile communications services, and real estate management.

Daimler-Benz went through various development phases. From 1985 to 1990, it diversified into aerospace and electrical engineering. The aim was to become an integrated high-tech group. This diversification was further consolidated in the next phase that extended from 1990 to 1995. Under the leadership of Schrempp, the core business was redefined and the strategy refocused.

A 1995-96 portfolio review showed the need for refocusing on what the company could do best. Top management reevaluated its strategies and its core businesses based on economic criteria and the strategic fit of the various activities. It became clear that the company's strengths were in car manufacturing, the truck business, and the railroad sector. Mercedes Benz, for example, had a strong competitive position...
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