HANOVER, Germany—Martien de Louw, the top executive of Continental A.G.´s passenger and light truck tires division since February 2003, has left the company "due to differing views over the business strategy."
Manfred Wennemer, Continental executive board chairman, will take over responsibility for the passenger/light truck tires division in addition to his function as chairman, the tire maker said.
De Louw, who also served as president and CEO of Continental Tire North America Inc., is the division´s second top exec to exit after a relatively short time at the helm. Ulrich Wellen was CTNA president for a little more than a year before leaving in spring 2003. Prior to Wellen, Bernd Frangenberg had headed the Charlotte, N.C.-based unit for eight years before retiring in 2002.
Alan Hippe, responsible for finance, controlling and law, is taking on the responsibility for the passenger and light truck tire business in North America and assuming the position of president and CEO of Continental Tire North America for a limited period of time, according to the company.
Conti did not comment further on de Louw´s departure, announced at the firm´s annual meeting. De Louw was unavailable for comment.
During his short time with Continental, the passenger/light truck tire division reported increased sales and earnings, although the unit´s North American operations were in the red throughout his tenure. The company earlier this year stated the North American business should hit break-even by the fourth quarter, as the impact of higher prices, increased sales of lower-cost imported tires and restructuring takes effect.