CORRECTED-Daimler CEO urges staff not to be distracted by revamp

Tue Mar 5, 2013 3:05pm EST

(Makes clear Bernhard is responsible for procurement and purchasing at Mercedes-Benz)

FRANKFURT, March 5 (Reuters) - Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche urged his top management not to be distracted by a controversial board shake-up announced by the premium car and truck maker late last month.

"The executive board stands united behind our strategy, as does the entire supervisory board," Zetsche said in a letter to employees, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

On Feb. 21 Daimler extended Zetsche's contract by three years, rather than five, and forced the board member responsible for manufacturing and purchasing at Mercedes-Benz, Wolfgang Bernhard, to swap jobs with Andreas Renschler, head of trucks.

Despite the reshuffle, the overall strategy of Daimler remained "unchanged" Zetsche said in a letter sent to top brass.

"The competition is not sitting in the office next door, but in Wolfsburg and Ingolstadt, in Munich and Goeteborg," Zetsche said, referring to the cities where rival car brands Volkswagen and Audi, as well as truck makers Scania, and MAN are based. (Reporting By Hendrik Sackmann; writing Edward Taylor; Editing by Bernard Orr)