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Daimler's Dr. Dieter Zetsche Steps Down from Chairman Role (Update)
Dr. Dieter Zetsche
Dr. Dieter Zetsche is now followed out by Bodo Uebber

UPDATE Daimler AG's long-serving finance chief said Monday he wouldn't seek an extension of his contract that expires at the end of next year, adding to the management shuffle at the German car maker.

The decision by Chief Financial Officer Bodo Uebber comes after Daimler's board appointed Ola Kallenius, the research and development chief, to succeed Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche.

Daimler declined to comment beyond stating that Mr. Uebber had informed the board chairman of his intention.

Mr. Uebber said in a statement issued by Daimler it was the "right time for the company to put his job into younger hands," but said the decision to leave "did not come easy."

The auto maker is reorganizing itself into three separate business units -- trucks, passenger cars and mobility services, such as car-sharing and ride-hailing. The three units will be independent companies under the umbrella of Daimler.

Mr. Uebber championed a plan to turn Daimler into a holding company with a streamlined board responsible for strategy but without operational authority over the units. Mr. Zetsche, who also runs Mercedes-Benz cars, pushed to keep operational responsibility for the company's car business in the hands of Daimler's CEO. Also, Mr. Källenius was Mr. Zetsche's preferred candidate to succeed him.

Arndt Ellinghorst, automotive analyst at Evercore ISI, wrote in a note last month that the appointment of Mr. Källenius was a "victory for Dieter Zetsche who managed to establish the continuation of one CEO for Daimler Group and Mercedes Cars."

On Monday, Mr. Ellinghorst said: "It's fair to say that Uebber was supporting a stronger holding model with a separation of Daimler Group and operating business management functions."

Mr. Uebber, well-liked by analysts and investors, joined Daimler's management board in 2003. In 2014, the supervisory board extended his contract to the end of 2019.

Daimler didn't announce a successor to Mr. Uebber as chief finance officer.

09/26/18 Daimlers Auto Group announced Wednesday that its Chairman of the Management Board and head of Mercedes-Benz's car division Dr. Dieter Zetsche will give up his position.

Dr. Zetsche's seat at the head of the conference table will soon be occupied by the Swede Ola Kallenius, 49, who was promoted to the board in January of 2015 after beginning his tenure with the company 22 years prior. In January of 2017, he was given oversight of Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. Kallenius will take on Dr. Zetsche's current responsibilities at the top of the board of management following the company's annual shareholders' meeting in 2019, beginning a five-year term in the role.

Chairman of the supervisory board Dr. Manfred Bischoff, whose term is not due to expire until after 2021's shareholders' meeting, named Dr. Zetsche as a candidate for his eventual replacement, which would be voted on at 2021's meeting.

"As a long-standing member of the Board of Management and Chairman of the Board of Management, Dieter Zetsche has played a key role in shaping Daimler AG and has ensured its strategically outstanding positioning for the mobility of the future," stated Dr. Bischoff in Daimler's press release. "His expertise and experience are extremely valuable for our company. Dieter Zetsche is predestined also to lead the company’s Supervisory Board prudently and successfully. 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."

"In Ola Kallenius, we are appointing a recognized, internationally experienced and successful Daimler executive as Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars," Dr. Bischoff continued. "At the same time, we are relying on the proven dual responsibility of the Chairman of the Board of Management as the head of the largest division, Mercedes-Benz Cars."

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