Handelsblatt Exclusive

Sources: Daimler Prepares to Anoint Heir

Ola Källenius, right, could become Daimler's new star if he succeeds the current CEO, Dieter Zetsche. Source: DPA [M]
Ola Källenius, right, could become Daimler's new star if he succeeds the current CEO, Dieter Zetsche.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Ola Källenius is expected to become Daimler’s head of research and development, a critical role as the industry shifts to electric cars – and an important test for the top job.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • It is thought Ola Källenius, a 46-year-old Swede who has worked at the group for 23 years, is being groomed as his successor to CEO Dietzer Zetsche.
    • Mr. Zetsche took over as head of Daimler in 2006 and has turned the maker of Mercedes cars into a direct rival of Audi and BMW.
    • The supervisory board will extend the contract of Mr. Zetsche for another three years, until the end of 2019, sources told Handelsblatt.
  • Audio

    Audio

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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.

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