HANNOVER, Germany—Continental AG's management shuffle continues, with management board member Klaus-Dieter Roker bowing out after 20 years of service with Conti in a dispute over company strategy. Mr. Roker is the third senior manager to leave the company in the past several weeks because of ``differing interpretations'' of corporate strategy.
Earlier, Werner Kraus, managing director of Semperit Reifen AG since 1993, and Helmut Gieselman, managing director of Conti's Vergolst retail network in Germany, left the firm citing similar circumstances.
Mr. Roker, however, was one of five members of Conti's executive board, and is therefore the most senior manager to depart. He was responsible for tire research, for the loss-making truck tire segment, and for environmental issues, and also was chairman of the supervisory board of Semperit Reifen.
Mr. Roker's responsibilities for truck tires will be assumed at least temporarily by Stephen Kessel, 43, manager of Conti's original equipment car tire business.
A successor for the truck tire post will be decided at a scheduled supervisory board meeting on April 14.
Mr. Roker's other responsibilities have been assumed by Conti Chairman Hubertus von Grunberg, who also continues to hold overall responsibility for the car tire business, following the retirement of Wilhelm Schafer a year ago.
Mr. Roker will remain at Conti until April 14, and will assume ``other duties'' until then.
Company and union sources indicated the ``differing interpretations'' centered on the depth and speed of cuts necessary to stem losses within the truck tire business unit.
It recently came to light, for example, that an ongoing ``benchmarking'' of the firm's European truck tire activities could result in the closure of one of its three western European truck tire plants—in Herstal, Belgium; Hannover, Germany; and Traiskirchen, Austria.