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Schaeffler family claims Continental CEO

The Schaeffler family, owners of the car parts and ball bearings manufacturer Schaeffler KG, have succeeded in their bid to oust the CEO of Continental, the car parts manufacturer the family took over last year.

Karl-Thomas Neumann's departure is effective immediately. He will be replaced as CEO by the head of the automotive division at Schaeffler, Elmar Degenhart, who has the backing of the Schaeffler family.

Maria-Elizabeth Schaeffler, head of the Schaeffler family and Continental board member, attempted to remove Neumann at the end of last month but she failed to gain the necessary support. (Click here to read our coverage of the story)

Yesterday's announcement was made possible with a last-minute compromise from the family that means Rolf Koerfer, a Schaeffler supporter, will step down from his post as chairman of the board in exchange for Neumann's departure. Koerfer will be replaced by a more neutral candidate acceptable to both parties.

Neumann is the second CEO to leave Continental since the unsolicited Schaeffler takeover in July 2008. (Click here to read our ongoing coverage of the story) The €12 billion takeover gave Schaeffler 49.9% of Continental's voting shares, however, the family's holdings have since been diluted by a capital increase instigated by Neumann in July.

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

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