Dieter Zetsche, who has led Daimler for the last 12 years, will step down from his post in 2019. Replacing him will be Ola Kallenius, current research and development boss.
Zetsche’s career with the company spans way back to 1976, when he worked in the research department of what was then known as Daimler-Benz. Although he started off as an engineer, he later moved into management and held several board positions in the 1990s. He has led Mercedes-Benz Cars since 2005. In 2006, he was appointed chairman of the board of management of the former DaimlerChrysler.
Under Zetsche’s watch, Mercedes become the world’s best-selling luxury car brand. It achieved this title in 2016 and has managed to keep it ever since. The management switch comes as Daimler begins some big changes. The company is restructuring itself into three units: cars, trucks, and mobility services.
Zetsche’s term will end in December 2019. He will will succeed Manfred Bischoff as chairman of the supervisory board, but that won’t happen until 2021 to comply with a two-year “cooling-off period.”
Kallenius will become the first non-German to lead Daimler, as Bloomberg points out. He will be appointed to a five-year term not only as the leader of Daimler but also as the head of the Mercedes-Benz Cars division.
The Swedish-born executive joined Daimler-Benz in 1993, and he ended up taking various positions in the U.S. and Europe. Eventually, he worked his way up to president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc., Tuscaloosa in 2009. From 2013, he held lead roles in marketing and sales for Mercedes-Benz Cars.