Dieter Zetsche not ready to let Wolfgang Bernhard be the new Mercedes CEO

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 18, 2011

Daimler’s profitability falls behind BMW and Audi, prompting several investors to call for Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche to cede control of Mercedes-Benz cars business to Wolfgang Bernhard. Zetsche asserted that he has no plans of doing this and that his position as the head of both Daimler and Mercedes made him more effective.

He said that “if he wasn't deeply anchored in its operating business," he would be a worse CEO. It was in July 2005 that he was named as the head of Daimler.

He became responsible for Mercedes the next month after Eckhard Cordes (his rival to the CEO position and the current Mercedes chief back then) decided to quit. According to auto industry analyst Arndt Ellinghorst of Credit Suisse, Daimler shares require a catalyst to outperform.

He believes that the catalyst would be Bernhard, Mercedes’ production and procurement chief, if he would have the everyday responsibility for the car business.

Ellinghorst said last September that the “most material trigger for the stock” would be reports on management changes in February 2012. He believes that the most probable scenario would be for Zetsche's contract as CEO to be extended. As a result, Dr. Bernhard will be the CEO of Mercedes cars. [source: Reuters]

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