Purging Chrysler

German bosses trusted the automaker's American managers. Now the company needs an overhaul

Cigar in hand, Jurgen Schrempp last spring was maintaining what had become a ritual on his regular visits to New York City--holding court at the St. Regis Hotel's King Cole Bar with a cluster of DaimlerChrysler's top executives. When an old business acquaintance wandered over to wish him well, Schrempp responded expansively with introductions to "my management board." The acquaintance shook all hands and then said with a chuckle, "But Jurgen, where are the Americans?"

Then they were out of sight. Now they are out of jobs. Although the deal that brought Daimler Benz and Chrysler together two years ago was...

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