Daimler Nominates Former VW CEO Pischetsrieder to Board

Daimler AG nominated former Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Bernd Pischetsrieder to the luxury-car producer’s supervisory board as VW hired a previous Daimler manager to run heavy-truck operations.

Pischetsrieder, who has also been CEO of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, will run for election at the annual shareholders meeting in April, Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler said today in its annual report. The maker of Mercedes-Benz autos also selected Siemens AG CEO Joe Kaeser and Bernd Bohr, a former head of Robert Bosch GmbH’s car-parts unit, for the board.

Daimler is bringing executives from some of Germany’s top manufacturers into its oversight body as CEO Dieter Zetsche pushes for third-ranked Mercedes to overtake BMW and VW’s Audi brand in global premium-vehicle sales and profitability by 2020. Pischetsrieder’s arrival coincides with a move by Andreas Renschler, who left Daimler in January, to Volkswagen, which wants tighter cooperation among its commercial-vehicle units.

“The automotive industry is a very unique business,” Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at Germany’s University of Duisburg-Essen, said by phone. “It’s good for Daimler to have members on the board who understand the automobile world and vehicle technology.”

Seeking Talent

German carmakers are competing for management talent as they push for industry leadership. Wolfsburg-based Volkswagen beat General Motors Co. last year to become the world’s second-largest vehicle maker, and CEO Martin Winterkorn has a target for VW to exceed top-ranked Toyota Motor Corp. in deliveries by 2018.

Pischetsrieder was ousted at VW in 2006 and replaced by Winterkorn, Audi’s chief at the time and a protege of Supervisory Board Chairman Ferdinand Piech. The current head of Daimler Trucks, Wolfgang Bernhard, worked as Volkswagen-brand chief under Pischetsrieder and left the carmaker shortly after the CEO change. A year ago, BMW hired Peter Schwarzenbauer, who left Audi as sales chief in 2012, to run the Munich-based carmaker’s Mini and Rolls-Royce brands.

Renschler, 55, was head of Daimler Trucks from late 2007 until he became Mercedes’s production chief in a job swap in April 2013 with Bernhard.

Hiring Incentive

Winterkorn wants Volkswagen’s MAN and Scania heavy-vehicle units and VW-brand commercial-van business to work more closely to take on Daimler’s truck division, which leads the global industry. Renschler will join Volkswagen’s management board and succeed Leif Oestling, 68, as truck chief in February 2015 after the former Scania CEO retires.

“We are very pleased we have been able to recruit Mr. Renschler to join our company,” VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech said today in a statement. “We have found the ideal successor” for Oestling.

Pischetsrieder, 66, is supervisory board chairman of Munich Re, the world’s biggest reinsurer.

Publicly traded German companies are overseen by a supervisory board, with seats held by independent directors, shareholder representatives and labor leaders, while a separate management board of the top executives runs day-to-day operations and business strategy.

Daimler said today that Zetsche’s compensation last year rose 1.2 percent to 8.25 million euros ($11.3 million). The entire management board’s remuneration increased 11 percent to 30.2 million euros as Hubertus Troska, who runs the company’s Chinese business became a member. Excluding that addition, the managers’ pay and bonuses increased 0.1 percent.

Daimler reiterated today that earnings this year will rise “significantly” as new models such as the GLA compact sport-utility vehicle attract customers.

Volkswagen today forecast operating profit margins to be in a range of 5.5 percent and 6.5 percent for 2014. The compares to 5.9 percent last year. Revenue is expected to “move within a range of 3 percent” from a year ago, as vehicle deliveries rise “moderately.”

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