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Like his predecessor, Kaellenius will be both group CEO and head Daimler's Mercedes-Benz passsenger-car division (Photo: Daimler)
  • Supervisory Board prepares succession at an early stage
  • Dieter Zetsche to be elected as member of the Supervisory Board in 2021
  • Ola Källenius to be appointed for a new term of five years as Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of the Mercedes-Benz Cars division
Ola Kaellenius will succeed Dieter Zetsche as CEO of Daimler and its core Mercedes-Benz passenger-car division in 2019, the German premium car group said Wednesday.

The group cited the challenges presented by the transformation of the automotive industry as the main reason for the early succession. The relative youth of Kaellenius was also mentioned in an official statement by Daimler, suggesting the Stuttgart powerhouse is looking to reenergise the company's operations as it transitions to a mobility company.

“With today’s resolutions and recommendations, the Supervisory Board has made powerful and good decisions. On the one hand, we are making the Board of Management of Daimler AG younger and thus giving it new impetus. On the other hand, by recommending the election of Dieter Zetsche to the Supervisory Board, the successful and trusting cooperation with him will be continued. In the Supervisory Board, we will continue to support the transformation into a mobility company, thus securing the successful course of the Daimler Group.” said Michael Brecht, Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG and Chairman of the General Works Council of Daimler AG.

Kaellenius, who currently services as Daimler's head of R&D, had for several years been touted as the next CEO of the group.

Zetsche, who has headed Daimler since 2006, is slated to take over as chairman of the company's supervisory board in 2021. It is customary in Germany that CEOs observe a two-year "cooling off period" before assuming supervisory duties at their companies.

Once Kaellenius becomes CEO, Markus Schaefer, currently in charge of production and supply chain management, will take over as head of R&D.

-By Arjen Bongard