Zetsche could lead Daimler beyond 2016 image

While before this mandate the supervisory board opted to only extend Dieter Zetsche’s contract until 2016, the recent shift in Daimler’s fortunes and sales record have turned the tide.

Now, according to senior executives – Zetsche’s reign is poised to extend after 2016, which makes all the worthy successors go to the sideline – including trucks boss Wolfgang Bernhard.

While the succession is not formally due for discussion until early 2016, the overall momentum is definitely working in Zetsche’s favor – Mercedes-Benz is on a product offensive spree, with vastly improved sales and a very positive profit forecast.

According to a person familiar to the supervisory board, the recent departure of Mercedes-Benz production chief Andreas Renschler also worked in favor of keeping the continuity.

“We don’t have to make a formal decision until closer to the time. This past year in particular has shown how much can change in 12 months,” the person said, but added they’re in favor of “keeping some continuity”.

The source also added that Daimler’s labor representatives, who have control over 10 of the 20 seats supervisory board also asked the potential successors list be extended beyond what they already have – namely Bernhard and Chief Financial Officer Bodo Uebber. Potential candidates are now also Ola Kaellenius, Markus Schaefer, head of manufacturing and Klaus Zehender, head of procurement at Mercedes-Benz.

Via Reuters