Daimler may extend CEO Dieter Zetsche’s contract beyond 2016

Article by Andrew Christian, on April 11, 2014

Dieter Zetsche is bound to see his contract as Daimler AG’s chief executive extended beyond 2016, according to senior executives at the German carmaker. In 2013, Daimler’s supervisory board extended Zetsche’s contract by only three years to 2016, but the carmaker’s current product momentum, improving profits and the recent exit of Mercedes-Benz production chief Andreas Renschler all points to some continuity in the CEO post, a person familiar with the thinking of the board told Reuters.

Daimler’s 20-member supervisory board formally appoints management board members. The source told Reuters that a formal decision won’t be made until before 2016, noting that the past year has shown “how much can change in 12 months. The source added the current momentum was working in favor of extending Zetsche's contract.

Last year, the supervisory board reshuffled its senior managers, sending Wolfgang Bernhard from Mercedes-Benz as production chief to head Daimler’s truck business. Daimler has acknowledged it was considering potential scenarios for succession, but said that no decision was imminent.

Supervisory board chairman Manfred Bischoff said at the annual general meeting that the board is preoccupying itself intensively with the issue of succession.

He noted that while it is not urgent topic, it has to be planned in advance. His remark was interpreted by senior Daimler executives as emphasizing the scenario that Zetsche's contract would be extended, according to another senior Daimler executive.

Daimler's labor representatives, who control half of the seats on the supervisory board, have demanded that the list of possible CEO candidates be extended beyond Bernhard and chief financial officer Bodo Uebber, a person privy with the board's thinking told Reuters. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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