Daimler's Dr. Dieter Zetsche Steps Down from Chairman Role

'Dr. Z' has relinquished the role he has held since 2006, and his replacement will be the first non-German to fill the seat.

Dieter Zetsche at the German Transport Ministry
Kay Nietfeld—Kay Nietfeld/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Daimler Auto Group announced Wednesday that its Chairman of the Management Board and head of Mercedes-Benz's car division Dr. Dieter Zetsche will give up his position.

Dr. Zetsche's seat at the head of the conference table will soon be occupied by the Swede Ola Källenius, 49, who was promoted to the board in January of 2015 after beginning his tenure with the company 22 years prior. In January of 2017, he was given oversight of Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. Källenius will take on Dr. Zetsche's current responsibilities at the top of the board of management following the company's annual shareholders' meeting in 2019, beginning a five-year term in the role.

Chairman of the supervisory board Dr. Manfred Bischoff, whose term is not due to expire until after 2021's shareholders' meeting, named Dr. Zetsche as a candidate for his eventual replacement, which would be voted on at 2021's meeting.

"As a long-standing member of the Board of Management and Chairman of the Board of Management, Dieter Zetsche has played a key role in shaping Daimler AG and has ensured its strategically outstanding positioning for the mobility of the future," stated Dr. Bischoff in Daimler's press release. "His expertise and experience are extremely valuable for our company. Dieter Zetsche is predestined also to lead the company’s Supervisory Board prudently and successfully. As Chairman of the Board of Management, he has proven that he can lead Daimler AG also in difficult circumstances and can inspire employees to pursue ambitious goals."

"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," Dr. Bischoff continued. "At the same time, we are relying on the proven dual responsibility of the Chairman of the Board of Management as the head of the largest division, Mercedes-Benz Cars."