Dieter Zetsche Exiting Daimler as CEO, First Non-German Taking Over

Dieter Zetsche will step down as CEO of Daimler AG as the board appoints the first non-German successor to lead the world’s largest luxury automaker.

Ola Källenius, a 49-year-old Swede who has spent more than half his life at Daimler and currently heads RD, will take over in May 2019 as CEO and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, pending a shareholder vote. Zetsche, 65, had held a five-year contract that runs through December 2019 but has agreed to exit early as the company prepares for “fundamental changes taking place in the automotive industry,” he said in a statement. After a mandatory two-year cooling-off period in which he cannot work for Daimler, Zetsche will then chair the supervisory board in 2021.

“In various positions at Daimler, Ola has earned not only my respect, but also the recognition of his colleagues in very diverse areas,” Zetsche said.

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