The Next Step

“What have you learnt recently?”

A colleague asked me this question a few days ago at a staff event. And the main lesson I’ve learnt is that the team at Daimler is capable of anything when it is determined.

Of course, by no means have all the tasks in our daily business been resolved. Our industry and our company now face major challenges. But the biggest challenge for us is also the most enjoyable: Significantly changing mobility for a second time and thus repositioning Daimler – for the next generation of customers, employees and shareholders.

To do that, we need the right strategic course, which we have adopted with CASE. On the other hand, we need a team that sees the transformation of our industry not as a threat, but as a variety of fascinating opportunities. This is our attitude: Daimler is now more female, more international and younger than ever before – and just as full of pioneering spirit as the founders of our company were. I therefore believe it is right that we should now also take the next step at the top of our company:

Manfred Bischoff’s regular term of office as Chairman of the Supervisory Board expires at the end of the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting in 2021. In view of the fundamental changes taking place in the automotive industry, the Supervisory Board intends to prepare a suitable succession at an early stage.

Manfred Bischoff, Chairman of the Supervisory Board

Manfred Bischoff, Chairman of the Supervisory Board

The Supervisory Board has therefore suggested that I stand for election by the shareholders to that board at that Annual Meeting. Manfred Bischoff will also recommend that I then take over as Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

A break of two years is called for in the case of such a move from the Board of Management to the Supervisory Board. In order to maintain this “cooling-off” period, I will therefore step down from my position in the Board of Management of Daimler and as Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars effective at the end of our Annual Shareholders’ Meeting in 2019. The Supervisory Board has decided to appoint Ola Källenius as my successor in both of those positions effective in direct connection.

Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development

Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development

In various positions at Daimler, Ola has earned not only my respect, but also the recognition of his colleagues in very diverse areas. At the same time, he contributes a valuable international perspective. As the successor of Ola Källenius with Board of Management responsibility for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, the Supervisory Board has appointed Markus Schäfer, who has proven his leadership qualities in numerous technical management positions. I therefore very much welcome the fact that the Supervisory Board has made these forward-looking personnel decisions.

Many people have built our company with great passion over more than 130 years. I have been proud to be a part of it for 42 years. And I am thrilled about the developments that will take place at Daimler in the future. I would therefore like to continue playing my part in the success of this journey.

For further information regarding additional new appointments please see this press release.


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Dieter Zetsche is Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

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