During a panel discussion that took place in Munich, both chief executives of the two German automakers said the issue of succession is not imminent and that when it arises most likely candidates would be selected from within the companies.
At both Daimler – parent of third-largest luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz – and Volkswagen AG, the idea of who would become chief executive officer has not been a key interest for the respective supervisory boards, declared each of the top executives.
Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche and Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn were both present at the Munich event when they were asked if the search for a successor has begun and if the suitable candidate/candidates were found.
The Mercedes-Benz head said that anyway speculating in public about their respective successors was not generally a great idea, as open speculations and premature exposure to the public could hinder a smooth transition strategy. He added that Daimler has already selected a list of possible candidates that only need to prove they are up to the task. Volkswagen’s Winterkorn was asked if his successor was born and he responded humorously: “He has definitely been born, but I don’t know what his name is.” Both CEOs have contracts with the automakers running into 2016.