Jurgen Schrempp: The Auto Baron

DaimlerChrysler's Jurgen Schrempp has built an empire of tremendous scope. Can he steer it through the global crisis?

One August day four years ago, while climbing the 3,905-meter Ortler mountain in the Italian Alps, Jurgen Schrempp descended a sheer wall and got stuck. Groping about, he couldn't find a hand- or toehold. He was roped to mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner, the first person to climb Mt. Everest without oxygen. What would happen, Schrempp shouted up, if I fell? I'd catch you, replied Messner, and lower you down. Marvels Messner: "So he jumped."

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.