Daimler investors against him: Zetsche renounces chairing the supervisory board

The year 2021 was actually supposed to bring its glorious comeback: Ex-Daimler boss Zetsche wanted to return to the Stuttgart car manufacturer as chairman of the supervisory board. But he doesn't feel welcome by some investors and withdraws: "That would have been ugly."

Dieter Zetsche renounces the chairmanship of the supervisory board of the automaker Daimler after severe criticism from investors. "Of course I would have liked to have done this job. I also believe that I would have done it well. But in the end I decided that I don't want that, that I do without it," said the long-time CEO of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung ". He had already informed the outgoing supervisory board chairman Manfred Bischoff.

The 67-year-old Zetsche should have become chairman of the supervisory board two years after his departure from the top management in spring 2021 after the prescribed cooling-off phase. Many investors blame Zetsche for wrong decisions, which caused his successor Ola Källenius to issue several profit warnings and caused the Stuttgart-based company to lose billions. During Zetsche's time as head of Mercedes, there were also diesel manipulations, for which Daimler recently concluded a $ 2.2 billion settlement. Zetsche is also chairman of the supervisory board of the ailing tourism group TUI.

Burden? "No, I don't need that"

"That after 40 years of professional life I would not be seen by some as a bearer of hope, but as a burden – no, I don't need that," Zetsche told the Sunday newspaper. He no longer has to prove himself and by sticking to the candidacy would not do the company a favor either. Although he does not think that he would have failed at the general meeting because the major investors were behind him. "That would have worked in the matter, but the accompanying circumstances would have been ugly." A fight vote would have burdened Daimler with its 300,000 employees "at least for a certain time".

A Daimler spokesman said: "We take Dr. Zetsche's decision with great respect." The supervisory board must decide who is to become head of the committee instead of Zetsche. The 78-year-old incumbent, Bischoff, can no longer run for reasons of age. The outgoing Siemens boss Joe Kaeser had been brought up for the post in trade union circles.