Since the move had been telegraphed for almost two years, it’s no surprise that Ola Källenius will succeed Dieter Zetsche as CEO of Daimler next May. But this strikes me as more than one of those seamless, soulless, standardized transfers of power at Daimler or BMW.
Zetsche has led Daimler since 2006 and has been a colossal figure in the global industry for more than a quarter-century — as far as we’re concerned since he arrived in the U.S. in 1991 to run Freightliner at age 38.
As Zetsche’s career winds down he’ll get accolades, all deserved. But this changing of the guard is intriguing not because Zetsche is leaving, but because his successor appears to be a new order of chief executive — especially for a German car manufacturer.
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