DAIMLER research chief Ola Kaellenius will be the first non-German to become CEO of the company.
Dieter Zetsche has been CEO of the company for 12 years and will step down in May 2019, a year earlier than expected. He will take over as Daimler’s chairman from Manfred Bischoff in 2021.
Swedish Kaellenius joined Daimler in 1993 as a trainee and became a management board member for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing and Sales in 2015, having worked in corporate controlling in Alabama for Mercedes-Benz previously as well as Mercedes-AMG.
However, Kaellenius’ background doesn’t include an educational background in mechanical engineering – another first for a Daimler CEO.
Instead, the current head of group research and Mercedes-Benz cars development is expected to steer the company into a technologically advanced future and help the business compete with emerging mobility companies.
Already he has encouraged a move away from strict hierarchies and more experimental approaches to planning and products.
Daimler’s current chairman Bischoff said in a statement: ‘With Dieter Zetsche’s intended appointment as Chairman of the Supervisory Board, we are ensuring continuity for the sustained success of Daimler AG.
‘In Ola Kaellenius, we are appointing a recognized, internationally experienced and successful Daimler executive.’