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Mercedes chief Zetsche seeks female successor

Daimler AG head Dieter Zetsche has expressed his concern on the lack of female management power in his company. The outgoing CEO has said he hopes to have a woman take on his role when he retires.

CEO of multinational car manufacturer Daimler AG, which owns Mercedes, Dieter Zetsche, said in an interview to be published in full on Thursday that he hopes the company can become more female-friendly in the future - both in terms of customers as well as in the boardroom. Speaking with the weekly magazine "Die Bunte," Zetsche admitted that women have not had "a sufficiently important role" in the company.

The 62-year-old also said he would "of course" like to see a woman follow him as CEO or chairman of the board when he departs the company. His current contract is up at the end of 2016. "I would find it fantastic if it works out," said Zetsche.

Currently the only woman on the board of management of the Stuttgart-based firm is legal expert Dr. Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt.

In a somewhat odd effort to subvert stereotypes, Zetsche also praised women as being better drivers than men. "To my mind, women are the more prudent car drivers. After all, around 80 percent of the perpetrators of traffic violations are men."

Zetsche said Daimler factories sought to let female employees drive new cars off the production line - saying fewer were damaged as a result.

"I think women are not only very good drivers, but very good at parking as well."

es/msh (AFP, dpa)

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