Daimler has announced that Dieter Zetsche will step down from his role as CEO and chairman of the management board next year. He will be replaced by Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development boss Ola Källenius, who will also assume the associated role as head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

Zetsche will not be leaving the company – he’s to be elected as member of the supervisory board, where he will take over the role as chairman from Manfred Bischoff. This is a case of succession preparation being done at an early stage, because that transition will only take place in 2021, following a two-year cooling-off period.

Källenius (pix below) was appointed to the board of management of Daimler AG in 2015, and since January last year has been the head of Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. Zetsche has been a member of the board of management since 1998 and head of the Mercedes-Benz Cars division since 2005. He also served as chairman of the board in the former DaimlerChrysler setup.

“In various positions at Daimler, Ola Källenius has earned not only my respect, but also the recognition of his colleagues in very diverse areas. At the same time, he contributes a valuable international perspective. I therefore very much welcome the fact that the supervisory board has made this forward-looking personnel decision,” Zetsche said.

The changes next year will also see Markus Schäfer, who is currently heading Production and Supply Chain Management, taking over from Källenius as the boss of Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.