Calling the native of any country “bastards” can land you in jail or on the execution chair. Rainer Gaertner is lucky. The President and CEO of Daimler Trucks & Buses in China escaped a harsh punishment in the country. However, the German automaker was in no mood to let this pass by. Daimler AG sacked Gaertner immediately from the executive position and is likely to be penalized for his indiscreet comment on the Chinese people once he returns to Germany.
The background story
Dr.Rainer Gaertner was being posted in China for more than a year as the CEO and President at Mercedes-Benz / Daimler Trucks and Buses China Ltd. According to a social media post followed up by the local Chinese media, it was revealed that the CEO abused a truck driver in English. The CEO ranted at the Chinese driver over an altercation for parking space. The case drew large-scale ire from the Chinese locals and the social media. Following the incident, Gaertner’s services were terminated at Daimler AG without any show-cause notice.
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Daimler AG’s stand on the incident
Meanwhile, Daimler AG, Rainer Gaertner’s former employer profusely apologized to the Chinese people and explained their position in the whole issue. In a public statement, the German auto-giant admitted that the incident has been detrimental to the reputation of the company.
Daimler AG is yet to announce a replacement and an interim CEO for the vacant position.
Meanwhile, it is reported that Gaertner and the truck driver have resolved their issue privately. However, the incident caught the eyes of the locals when Gaertner tried to fend away some people using pepper sprays and abuses.
Not an isolated case on Chinese
The issue involving the Mercedes CEO is not an isolated case. In October, Günther Oettinger, the European Union commissioner for digital affairs took a lame shot at the Chinese referring to them as people with “slit eyes” and “chisellers”. He had to apologize later publicly, but will surely face the music in the European Parliament later this year.
How it pans out for Daimler China?
Dr. Gaertner was brought to China in July 2015. He was posted in the Chaoyang District in Beijing. Daimler enjoys a hefty share in the market in terms of sales revenue. Its sales have surged significantly in the luxury brand segment, which also has BMW and Audi fighting for space. With the exit of its CEO, will the sales and reputation take a hit?
Meanwhile, Daimler AG has issued a statement that the issue and the personal remarks on Chinese citizens don’t represent the company’s values. How true?
Photo courtesy: Reise Reise/ Wikimedia Commons