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Kaellenius will take over as head of Daimler R&D at year-end 2016 (Photo: Daimler)

Mercedes-Benz sales boss Ola Kaellenius will succeed Thomas Weber as head of R&D at the Daimler Group, the German premium car company said Tuesday. Weber, 61, will leave Daimler when his contract expires December 31.

Weber has been a Daimler management board member since 2003. He has held his current position as R&D head since January 2004.

"Thomas Weber has shaped research & development at Daimler, and primarily at Mercedes-Benz Cars, for more than thirteen years," Daimler Supervisory Board Chairman Manfred Bischoff said in a press statement. "During this period, he laid important foundations, has renewed the entire product portfolio of passenger cars, and has prepared the company for the future of mobility," he added. "He has thus played a major role in the present success of Mercedes-Benz Cars."

Kaellenius, 46, is generally seen as a member of a new generation of Daimler managers. He has been a management board member only since January 2015, having joined the company in 1993. In the course of his Daimler career, he held a variety of senior positions, including CEO of Mercedes-AMG and CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc.

"With Ola Kaellenius we are appointing an experienced board colleague with extensive expertise in the passenger car business," Bischoff said. He added that the appointment will make the group's management board "younger and more international." Kaellenius is a Swedish national.