Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche to quit in 2019 | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 26.09.2018
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Business

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche to quit in 2019

The chief executive of German carmaker Daimler, Dieter Zetsche, will resign from his post in May 2019, the Stuttgart-based company has announced. His contract would have expired in December of next year.

Following more than 13 years at the helm of Daimler, Dieter Zetsche is expected to quit in May 2019, the company said Wednesday.

He will be succeeded by the current head of development at the group, Ola Kaellenius, a 49-year-old Swede.

Following a two-year absence, Zetsche is then expected to take over as head of the firm's supervisory board from Manfred Bischoff whose tenure ends in 2021.

The news about Zetsche's resignation roughly half a year before his contract would have expired comes as the car and truck maker is undergoing a period of rapid change and restructuring.

Daimler and the wider German car industry is experiencing a delicate period as it suffers the fallout from the dieselgate emissions cheating scandal.

European carmakers must adapt to new, tougher emissions rules, while bans on older diesel vehicles are looming in many German cities.

Daimler has had to recall some 774,000 vehicles this year to undo illegal defeat devices designed to conceal high levels of harmful emissions from regulators' tests.

The company is in the process of being divided up into three independent entities — one for passenger cars and vans, one for trucks and buses and another one focusing on the company's financial services.

Zetsche's merits

Zetsche, aged 65, has been with Daimler — the parent company of Mercedes-Benz — since 1976. He was credited with getting the firm on a sound footing again following a sales lull after the global financial crisis.

He also spearheaded a campaign to fundamentally modernize the design of the core Mercedes brand with a view to attracting younger clients.

His efforts paid off. After many years trailing domestic rival BMW, Mercedes-Benz regained the crown of the world's top seller of premium cars.

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