Zetsche expects to stay on as Daimler CEO
Zetsche's contract as Daimler CEO expires on Dec. 31.
FRANKFURT (Reuters) -- Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche expects his contract to be renewed after his current term as head of the car and truck maker expires at the end of this year, he told a German newspaper.
Investors grew increasingly worried last year about the company's inability to close the performance gap with rivals Audi and BMW, prompting media speculation about Zetsche's future.
"At the moment there are good indications that I will continue as the head of Daimler," Zetsche, 59, told Welt am Sonntag newspaper in an interview.
Daimler's supervisory board would take a decision on renewing his contract in February, he said.
The company issued a profit warning in October, saying it was facing "significantly more difficult market conditions."
A source close to Daimler's supervisory board told Reuters in November that the problems would not stand in the way of renewing Zetsche's contract when the current one expires on Dec. 31.
The German automotive group has promised 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion) in cost cuts at Mercedes-Benz by the end of 2014.
"I assume that we will be able to sell significantly more cars in the future and that our productivity will rise," Zetsche told the paper.
"Overall, the number of employees should remain largely constant," he added.
Zetsche also said he was satisfied with the group's shareholder structure, saying the risk of a takeover "belonged to the realm of the imagination."
Following a Chinese media report earlier this month that China Investment Corp (CIC) was interested buying a stake in the company, Zetsche told reporters at the Detroit auto show last week that he was not aware of such plans and was not in talks with the investor.Contact Automotive News