Daimler would extend the contract of Dieter Zetsche as its chief executive by three years to 2016, a company source privy with the matter told Reuters. According to the source, the extension issue could be discussed in the supervisory board once the final year of Zetsche’s contract has started. The final year of Zetsche starts in January 2013. His contract is set to expire at the end of next year. Der Spiegel, a German weekly magazine, has reported that the supervisory board of Daimler would hold a meeting in February to decide on extending Zetsche’s contract with the carmaker. The report on extending Zetsche’s contract came as analysts issued warnings that there is increasing investor concern on Daimler's inability to close the performance gap with fellow German carmaker Audi and BMW.
Daimler made a forecast last week that Mercedes-Benz Cars would fail to achieve a profit similar to its 2011 results, no thanks to market slowdown in Europe and China. Zetsche, who heads both the Daimler group and the core Mercedes-Benz business, has made it clear that he is not interested in grooming an heir apparent to his position.
Possible candidates to replace Zetsche as Daimler’s top honcho are Mercedes production and procurement chief Wolfgang Bernhard and Chief Financial Officer Bodo Uebber. Meanwhile, German daily Handelsblatt reported that Daimler is also planning to extend the contracts of trucks chief executive Andreas Renschler and development chief Thomas Weber, citing several sources familiar with the matter.