Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche expects expiring contract to be extended

Article by Anita Panait, on January 22, 2013

Dieter Zetsche expects his contract as current chief executive of Daimler to be renewed after his term expires at the end of 2013, he told Welt am Sonntag newspaper in an interview. There have been speculations about Zetsche’s tenure in Daimler, as investors become increasingly concerned about the carmaker’s inability to close the performance gap with fellow German carmakers and rivals Audi and BMW.

Zetsche told the German daily that at the moment, there are good indications that he will continue as chief executive of Daimler. He said that Daimler's supervisory board would decide whether to renew his contract in February 2013. Daimler issued a profit warning in October 2012, saying it was facing "significantly more difficult market conditions."

A source privy with Daimler's supervisory board told Reuters in November 2012 that the problems would not be a hurdle in renewing Zetsche's contract, which expires on Dec. 31, 2013. The German carmaker has promised EUR2 billion ($2.7 billion) in cost cuts at Mercedes-Benz by the end of 2014. Zetsche told Welt am Sonntag that he expects that Daimler will sell significantly more cars in the future and will increase its productivity.

He added that the size of Daimler’s workforce “should remain largely constant." Zetsche remarked that he was satisfied with Daimler’s shareholder structure, saying that the risk of a takeover "belonged to the realm of the imagination." Zetsche disclosed at the Detroit auto show last week that he was not aware of any talks over a possible stake acquisition by China Investment Corp (CIC).

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