Daimler approves three-year extension to CEO Dieter Zetsche’s contract

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

A three-year extension to CEO Dieter Zetsche's contract was approved by Daimler AG's supervisory board, according to a source who spoke with Reuters. There have been plenty of speculation about the future of Zetsche but company insiders say that there never was any question about his standing and that in fact, his contract will be extended beyond 2013.

A Daimler spokesman declined to comment but then it's to be expected since the company has a policy of not giving out statements about boardroom matters or personnel issues.

In May 2013, Zetsche will turn 60. Many have noted that upon reaching this age, rival BMW AG will only extend contracts by one-year intervals, if at all.

All eyes are on how Zetsche manages the company in this difficult period in the global premium car and commercial vehicle market. His performance will likely dictate whether his stay is extended or be placed by someone else, most likely to be Wolfgang Bernhard.

Days ago, Bernhard replaced Rainer Schmueckle as head of production at premium division Mercedes-Benz Cars.

This key management change follows the resignation of sales chief Klaus Meier last September. Joachim Schmidt replaced Meier. Zetsche, who serves as CEO of Mercedes, has recognized Bernhard's competence ever since they first formed a duo at Chrysler in 2000.

Zetsche had been very vocal in criticize a decision by predecessor Juergen Schrempp to compel Bernhard to depart four years later. Bernhard had been in line to be Mercedes CEO.

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