(Makes clear Bernhard is responsible for procurement and
purchasing at Mercedes-Benz)
FRANKFURT, March 5 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)