Forcing Lee Iacocca's Hand?

What was going on at the secret Chrysler board meeting in New York last weekend? Sources said the board's nominating committee gathered to force Lee Iacocca to name a successor. The legendary CEO is slated to step down Dec. 31, but he has been vague about his plans and who will replace him. Board members were reportedly concerned about Wall Street's reaction to the waffling. The last straw, said a source, was Iacocca's outspoken performance in Japan with President Bush in January: "[The board] was thoroughly embarrassed and began to see that Iacocca really didn't want to go."

Last month Chrysler vice chairman Robert Miller became the latest possible heir to quit-in frustration over the lack of succession plans, sources say. Whom might the board tap? The favorites were Chrysler president Robert Lutz; Gerald Greenwald, a former number two, and GM's European operations president Robert J. Eaton. A Chrysler spokesman declined to comment.

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