Jurgen Schrempp, chairman and chief executive of DaimlerChrysler, has resigned from the board of directors at the New York Stock Exchange, the German automaker said on Sunday.

The move comes on the heels of the ousting of Chairman Dick Grasso after it was learned that he had inked a hefty $187.5 million pay deal. Schrempp, 59, was one of the first individuals to question Grasso’s compensation package, but deemed his resignation necessary to clear the way for changes at the exchange.

Meanwhile, former Citigroup executive John Reed has since returned from a vacation in France to tackle the corporate governance quandary at the NYSE in his new role as interim chief. Reed met with Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William Donaldson Monday in Washington to discuss the proposed reforms.

The first priority for Reed will likely be to solve the inherent conflict of interest that exists within the board’s structure. Grasso’s pay drew criticism, in part, because board members who represent Wall Street firms and listed companies that the NYSE aims to regulate, were the ones who set it up.

Reed said recently that the 27-member board should be trimmed to 12 and that directors must take responsibility for awarding Grasso such an excessive pay package. That could translate into further resignations from board members in the days and weeks to come. On Monday, it was also reported that Stanley O’Neal, chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch, would willingly resign.

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