Continental CEO Elmar Degenhart to resign early from his position for personal reasons

“Immediately necessary, preventive health care” was cited as the reason, the company said.

Continental AG CEO Dr. Elmar Degenhart

After more than eleven years in office, the CEO of Continental AG Dr. Elmar Degenhart, who is 61, has informed the Supervisory Board today about his intention to resign from his position effective November 30, 2020 for reasons of immediately essential preventive health care. He has asked the Supervisory Board to accept the early termination of his Executive Board directorship and his contract, which would have run until August 11, 2024. Supervisory Board Chairman Professor Wolfgang Reitzle has announced that he will convene the Supervisory Board shortly to decide on the appointment of the successor to Degenhart.

Degenhart explained the reasons for choosing the timing of his resignation: “After a lot of effort invested for the benefit of our organization, I was recently made aware of the importance of immediately giving precautionary measures for my health the utmost priority when it comes to planning my personal life. I would have clearly preferred to continue working on our structural realignment, our profitable growth and viability enhancement program. And I would have loved to enjoy the future success this will bring, especially since we have just recently prepared for it by making the most difficult decisions and setting the decisive course. But in consideration of the health-related advice that I received, I am now setting other priorities.”

Degenhart, who holds a doctorate in engineering, has been CEO of the company since August 12, 2009, and is currently in his third term. He is directly responsible for Group Communications, Group Strategy, Group Total Quality Management and the start-up program co-pace.

Looking back at the successful course he set for Continental, Degenhart added: “It has been a pleasure and an honor for me to have been at the helm of Continental and leading its accelerated turnaround and profitable growth. I would like to thank our customers for the trust they have placed in me as well as our shareholders, the Supervisory Board, my fellow Executive Board members, my personal team and the global Continental team for their great support, utmost commitment and impressive performance over the past more than eleven years. I am convinced that the Continental team will enjoy great success in the future thanks to its unique values and network culture and driven by its new strategy.”

On behalf of all Supervisory Board members, their chairman Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Reitzle acknowledged Degenhart’s achievements during the many years of successful work. He praised his “outstanding performance, exemplary leadership and excellent track record.” Reitzle said: “We all deeply regret Dr. Degenhart’s decision and his resignation. However, we respect his personal wish and understand the reasons behind it. When he took office in August 2009, Degenhart and his team led the company out of a situation that threatend its very existence and brought it back into the DAX 30 Index and to an industry-wide top position. Under his leadership, Continental’s debt was significantly reduced to a normal level, its equity capital strengthened and its previous high investment grade fully restored.”

Reitzle added: “As a leader and as a person, Dr. Degenhart is a role model of the leadership principle he has coined: values create value. He deserves the greatest possible thanks from all stakeholders for his track record. With a systematically realigned organization and the enhancement of a lasting values culture, he has laid the decisive foundations for further profitable growth and the future viability of Continental.”

The Supervisory Board chairman commented on the upcoming nomination of Degenhart’s successor as follows: “I will convene the Supervisory Board to decide on the successor at short notice. Our focus will be on continuity and the seamless continuation in the ongoing transformation of Continental from mainly a tire manufacturer and automotive supplier to a pioneering technology and software mobility company.”


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