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Continental stock price continues to tumble as new leadership takes over

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Continental AG's stock price has dropped almost 39% since the first half. But most of the drop has occurred since August 31.

On June 29, Continental's stock was trading at $14.15. By August 31, it had dropped slightly to $13.17.

But since then, there has been a major change at the top at company headquarters in Germany. Dr. Stephan Kessel resigned as chairman of the company's executive board. Kessel cited differences over the strategic orientation of the company for his decision; Continental says the separation was "on very amicable terms."

It is not known what influence Hubertus von Gruenberg, who stepped down as chairman in April 1999, had on the decision. Gruenberg was elected director of Continental's supervisory board shortly after "retiring," and has maintained strong connections to the board and the financial community as part of this role.

At the time he stepped down as chairman, von Gruenberg was credited with restoring Continental AG to good financial health.

Manfred Wennemer was appointed chairman of the executive board to replace Kessel. Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart was named deputy chairman.

Wennemer is meeting with some 200 management people today in Germany as he prepares to examine the company's direction, according to a Continental AG spokesman. He then will fly to the United States to meet with the management of Continental Tire North America Inc.

The spokesman said Continental AG doesn't foresee significant changes in strategy, and will continue its goal to be a major supplier of complete chassis systems. Wennemer's first press conference is scheduled for the middle of October.

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