It has been quite a run since 2006, but from next year onwards, we won’t be seeing the familiar sight of Mercedes-Benz’s CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche unveiling new models on the global stage. The Denim-wearing, moustache-rocking CEO of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars will step down from the Board of Management by end of this year and seek election as the Chairman of the Supervisory Board which is expected to take effect in 2021.

Ola Källenius will take over the wheel at Daimler and Mercedes-Benz in 2019.

Replacing Zetsche at the helm will be Ola Källenius, who currently oversees Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. The 49-year old Swede will be the first non-German to lead the largest automotive premium brand in the world. Källenius was appointed to the Board of Management in 2015 as the Head of Marketing & Sales for Mercedes-Benz cars and had been heavily tipped to succeed Zetsche.

From the demerger of Daimler and Chrysler in 2007 to reclaiming the premium car crown from BMW in 2016, Zetsche has steered Daimler through tricky waters and initiated transformation on many levels. Under his watch, Mercedes-Benz shed its stodgy image and reinvented itself as a cool carmaker driven by innovation and forward-thinking ideas and is now primed for the future of electrified and connected mobility. Dr. Zetsche also personally played his part in softening the image of Mercedes-Benz by appearing many lighthearted videos, such as the 2017 year-end message above. We are looking forward to his final one as CEO of Daimler in a few months time.

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Denis Wong
In the age of misinformation and spin, Denis prefers candour and a counterpoint, because the truth matters.