February 9, 2017 / 7:01 PM / 6 months ago

Daimler's Bernhard to forego contract extension - Der Spiegel

Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche speaks during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., January 9, 2017.Mark Blinch

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Daimler (DAIGn.DE) trucks chief Wolfgang Bernhard, a maverick manager once seen as a successor to Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche, has made clear he does not want his contract extended, German magazine Der Spiegel said, citing company sources.

Daimler declined to comment.

Bernhard's contract is due to expire in February 2018.

Spiegel said supervisory board members, who were going to discuss extending Bernhard's contract at a meeting on Friday, were surprised to learn that Bernhard would not stay on if offered an extension, Der Spiegel said, citing unidentified company sources.

Bernhard's skills as a turnaround manager landed him top divisional jobs such as head of Mercedes-Benz cars, Chrysler and as CEO of the Volkswagen passenger car business in a wide ranging career in the auto industry.

But last year Daimler extended the contract of Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche by three years, a move which effectively ruled out 56-year old Bernhard as a potential successor.

Bernhard will be close to 60 in 2019 when Daimler is due to choose its next chief executive.

In February last year, Daimler also promoted Ola Kaellenius, a 46-year-old Swede, to become board member for research and development, a move that company insiders say made him a natural heir to Zetsche.

Reporting by Edward Taylor and Ilona Wissenbach; editing by Susan Thomas

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