Manfred Bischoff is a man who likes to think ahead. So when Daimler’s supervisory board meets under his leadership at the carmaker’s headquarters in Stuttgart next Tuesday, two long-term decisions will be made.
First, the board will extend the contract of chief executive Dieter Zetsche for another three years, until the end of 2019.
Second, high-ranking insiders said the board will appoint Ola Källenius, who heads marketing and sales, as new chief for research and development. For the 46-year-old Swede, it is a chance to prove he can someday lead the company. The current R&D boss, Thomas Weber, plans to retire at year’s end, company sources said.
Mr. Källenius has long been considered a candidate to succeed Mr. Zetsche, although other managers had nurtured hopes of taking over the top position as well, including Wolfgang Bernhard, the head of the Daimler trucks division, and Bodo Uebber, the chief financial officer.