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Schaeffler family attempt to exert control over Continental

The Schaeffler family, owners of the car parts and ball bearings maker Schaeffler KG, are attempting to oust the chief executive of Continental, the car parts maker the family took over last year.

Maria-Elizabeth Schaeffler, head of the Schaeffler family and Continental board member, attempted to replace Karl-Thomas Neumann with the head of automotive at Schaeffler, Elmar Degenhart, at a pre-board meeting yesterday. However, she failed to gain the necessary support for the move so Neumann remains in place for the time being.

Neumann angered the Schaeffler family when he accused them of forcing through a merger between the two businesses, first proposed in the spring of this year. He decided to stop merger talks and instead reduce debt with a capital increase, which was approved at the supervisory board meeting last night. The move will significantly dilute Schaeffler's 90% holding of Continental's shares.

Although Schaeffler was unsuccessful in replacing Neumann yesterday an announcement today stated another supervisory board meeting is scheduled for 12 August when managerial changed will be discussed.

If Neumann is forced to quit he will be the second CEO to leave the company since Schaeffler's unsolicited takeover of its rival in July 2008.

The €12 billion takeover, which gave Schaeffler 49.9% of Continental's voting stock, was concluded on 8 January. (click here to read our ongoing coverage of the story)

Schaeffler, a €9 billion business specialising in ball bearings, is owned by Maria-Elisabeth Schaeffler (pictured), the wife of one of the company's founders, and her son (pictured).

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