FRANKFURT Jan 20 Daimler Chief
Executive 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
Daimler'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 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 maker of Mercedes premium cars issued a profit warning
in October, saying it was facing "significantly more difficult
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.
The German automotive group has promised 2 billion euros
($2.7 billion) in cost cuts at Mercedes by the end of 2014, the
bulk of which to be front-loaded.
"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 on
Monday that he was not aware of such plans and was not in talks
with the investor.
($1 = 0.7524 euros)
(Reporting by Jonathan Gould; Editing by Louise Heavens)