Daimler extends Zetsche as CEO as Bernhard to run trucks

Daimler AG (DAI) extended Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche's term and named manufacturing manager Wolfgang Bernhard to run the truck unit in a possible step to the top job at the world's third-biggest luxury-car maker.

Zetsche's strategy at Mercedes includes rolling out 13 new vehicles without predecessor models over the next eight years and fixing a disjointed sales strategy in China. He's targeting an increase in profit starting next year, while balancing the costs of adding models, such as the CLA coupe and a compact sport-utility vehicle, with the spending-reduction targets.
The CEO joined Daimler in 1976 and has since held various positions at the manufacturer's car and commercial-vehicle divisions, including a period running the truck business. His total compensation for 2011, including fixed salary, bonuses and long-term stock options, was calculated at about 8.65 million euros, with a possible increase if Daimler beats performance targets in coming years.

A member of Daimler's management board since 1998, Zetsche was also CEO of U.S. carmaker Chrysler, a Daimler unit at the time, from 2000 to 2005. Zetsche became head of the Mercedes- Benz car division in September 2005 and succeeded Schrempp as Daimler CEO three months later.

Remaking Daimler

Zetsche has largely stripped the company of Schrempp's legacy, imitating Chrysler's separation in 2007, deciding in 2011 to discontinue the ultra-luxury Maybach brand and proceeding with an exit from European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. (EAD), the parent of planemaker Airbus that Daimler helped found, with the sale of a 7.5 percent stake in December.

Daimler also extended Thomas Weber's contract as development chief through 2016. The engineer, 58, was promoted to Daimler's management board in 2003 and has been responsible for research and development since May 2004, overseeing the introduction of the four-door CLS coupe. Weber, who joined the then Daimler-Benz AG in 1987, has a PhD and was awarded an honorary professor title from the university of Stuttgart in 2010.

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