Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler has named successors to the company’s top governance roles, as the carmaking giant looks to a divisional overhaul next year.
Dieter Zetsche, currently chairman of the board of management, is to be recommended to succeed Manfred Bischoff as chairman of the supervisory board when the latter’s term expires in 2021.
To comply with a two-year cooling-off period, in May Zetsche will step down from the board of management and as head the Mercedes-Benz passenger cars division. He will be succeeded in both roles by Swede Ola Källenius, who has been at the helm of group research and passenger car development since 2015.
Källenius will in turn by succeeded by fellow board member Markus Schäfer, in charge of production and supply chain management since 2014.
It is the first major governance reshuffling for Daimler since the group set out plans in July to overhaul its divisional structure by 2020, refocusing its business around three pillars.
Passenger car and large vehicles manufacturing operations will have dedicated divisions, with the company’s captive finance arm providing a third core unit under the name Daimler Mobility.
A number of OEMs have been giving certain business lines more freedom of action by turning them into standalone entities. Volkswagen is preparing an IPO for the newly-renamed Traton truck and bus division, and Fiat Chrysler is looking at a spinoff for parts maker Magneti Marelli.
Daimler’s upcoming overhaul stands out for the spearhead role it assigns to the mobility division, as the carmaker looks beyond its Mercedes-Benz vehicles to introduce services based purely around data aggregation.
“Dieter Zetsche has played a key role in shaping Daimler and has ensured its strategically outstanding positioning for the mobility of the future,” said Bischoff. “As Chairman of the Board of Management, he has proven that he can lead Daimler AG also in difficult circumstances and can inspire employees to pursue ambitious goals.
Michael Brecht, deputy chairman of the supervisory board, added: “On the one hand, we are making the board of management of Daimler younger and thus giving it new impetus. On the other hand, … we will continue to support the transformation into a mobility company, thus securing the successful course of the Daimler Group.”