Continental AG
Continental Headquarters Hanover Crop

Continental CEO to Step Down, Citing Health Reasons

Oct. 30, 2020
The departure comes as the auto supplier is going through an extensive restructuring affecting 30,000 jobs.

Continental AG, the troubled car parts manufacturer, said its chief executive Elmar Degenhart will resign next month for health reasons after 11 years in the role.

Degenhart, 61, will step down "for immediately necessary preventive health care," effective November 30, the company said in a statement late on Thursday.

It comes as Continental is going through an extensive restructuring affecting 30,000 jobs, as the auto industry grapples with a shift to electric vehicles and the economic fallout from the pandemic. 

"I would have clearly preferred to continue working on our structural realignment," Degenhart said. 

"But in consideration of the health-related advice that I received, I am now setting other priorities."

The world's second largest auto parts supplier announced in September the extension of a vast restructuring program launched in 2019, now aiming for one billion euros (US$ 1.2 billion) in annual savings from 2023.

When the plan was first unveiled, the group was aiming for just 20,000 job adjustments and 500 million euros in annual savings within four years.

But the coronavirus pandemic has savaged earnings prospects, with global lockdowns closing factories and showrooms for weeks on end earlier this year. 

Continental said its net profit plunged 41% to 485 million euros in the second quarter.

Wolfgang Reitzle, Continental's supervisory board chairman, said the supervisory body must now be convened "at short notice" to decide on a successor.

The president of Continental's automobile division, Nikolai Setzer, is a likely candidate, Bloomberg news agency reported, citing unnamed sources.

Copyright Agence France-Presse 2020

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