He-be gone!

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PORTLAND, Ore. — DaimlerChrysler’s Board of Management has accepted the resignation of Jim Hebe, president of Freightliner LLC, a business unit of the Commercial Vehicles Division.

“We wish to thank Jim Hebe for his years dedicated to building the Freightliner division in North America and wish him well in his future endeavours,” says Dr. Eckhard Cordes, Member of Board of Management responsible for the DaimlerChrysler’s Commercial Vehicles Division of DaimlerChrysler.

When North American truck sales recently experienced a dramatic collapse and continued weakness due to a glut of used trucks flooding the market, silently, much of the blame fell on Hebe.

The Board also announced the appointment of corporate turnaround guru Rainer Schmuckle as Hebe’s successor.

Schmuckle was most recently senior vice-president in charge of Controlling of DaimlerChrysler AG, and formerly chief financial officer and chief executive officer of Adtranz, the former DaimlerChrysler rail systems business unit.

From 1994 to 1997, Schmuckle previously served as chief financial officer of Freightliner.

The Portland, Ore.-based truck manufacturer, which also controls Sterling and Western Star among other nameplates, has already initiated a comprehensive profit improvement program, focused on reducing production capacity and cutting costs. The company insists the program will continue under the new management.

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