1999: Jurgen Schrempp
In his own words: “The greatest asset we have is the star and the Mercedes-Benz name. That’s dangerous. My colleagues told me, you’re quite right, if you want to grow we really need a second brand. We started analyzing. I talked to many companies…and then in a paper we concluded that Chrysler would be perfect, both geographically and in terms of product.”
What happened next: Schrempp was named CEO of DaimlerChrysler (understandable, as he was the architect of the merger), but he was forced out in July 2005 and replaced with Dieter Zetsche. The DaimlerChrysler experiment, as you’ll recall, was a failure.