Dieter Zetsche will step down from his role as Daimler CEO in 2019, giving his position to Mercedes-Benz development boss Ola Källenius.
The Supervisory Board of Daimler is proposing Zetsche as the next Chairman and is expected to replace Manfred Bischoff in 2021, at the annual shareholders meeting. Zetsche will take a two-year cooling-off period before he assumes his new position.
Ola Källenius has been working in Daimler since 1995, with a break between 2003 and 2005 when he was executive director at McLaren Automotive. He became head of Marketing and Sales at the Mercedes-Benz board in 2015 and one year later was appointed as the head of Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
“In various positions at Daimler, Ola Källenius has earned not only my respect, but also the recognition of his colleagues in very diverse areas,” said Dieter Zetsche. “At the same time, he contributes a valuable international perspective. I therefore very much welcome the fact that the Supervisory Board has made this forward-looking personnel decision.”
Zetsche has been working at Daimler since 1976. He became a member of the board in late 1998, followed by his appointment as head of the Mercedes-Benz Cars division in 2005. He also served as Chairman of the Board in the former Daimler Chrysler.
“With Dieter Zetsche’s intended appointment as Chairman of the Supervisory Board, we are ensuring continuity for the sustained success of Daimler AG,” said Manfred Bischoff, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Daimler. “In Ola Källenius, we are appointing a recognized, internationally experienced and successful Daimler executive as Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.”