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Business

Zetsche to Head Mercedes Indefinitely

Dieter Zetsche, the chairman-designate of German-US auto giant DaimlerChrysler, is to continue to head the group's Mercedes division "for an unlimited period." Zetsche, scheduled to take over from Jürgen Schrempp as DaimlerChrysler's chief executive from January, was recently put in charge of the troubled Mercedes Car Group, which comprises the Mercedes-Benz, Smart and Maybach brands. He was pursuing his duties there "wholeheartedly and with great pleasure" and would stay on for "an unlimited period," he told a news conference at the IAA motor show here. At the end of August, sources close to the company had said that Zetsche's appointment to replace Eckard Cordes as head of Mercedes was not a short-term solution and he would stay for at least one year. Mercedes, previously the cash-cow of the DaimlerChrysler group, is currently in difficulty and has recently embarked on a program of belt-tightening measures aimed at cutting costs by 3 to 4 billion euros ($3.7-4.9 billion) by 2007.

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