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Delphi's Gottschalk leaves over potential conflicts

Delphi Corp., the bankrupt US auto-parts maker, said Bernd Gottschalk resigned from its board because of potential conflicts of interest between the company and members of a German automotive trade group he heads. Gottschalk left the board at the request of the Association of the German Automotive Industry because Delphi is a supplier to members of the group, said Claudia Piccinin, a company spokeswoman. Gottschalk has been the association's president since 1997 and became a Delphi director in March 2000. Martin E. Welch III was elected to replace Gottschalk on Delphi's 13-member board, the Troy, Michigan-based company said yesterday in a US regulatory filing. Welch is chief financial officer of United Rentals Inc., based in Greenwich, Connecticut. Delphi, the largest US auto-parts supplier, is trying to win concessions from labor unions and shed unprofitable business in its reorganization. The company took its US operations into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October and wants to exit court protection by mid-2007. Gottschalk's decision to resign came „completely from the association,” Piccinin said. „There was no issue with him from Delphi.” She said she didn't know what prompted the group's request. The Frankfurt-based association couldn't immediately be reached at the telephone numbers provided on its Web site. Delphi shares fell 3 cents to $1.55 at 4 p.m. New York time in over-the-counter trading. (Bloomberg)