The Supervisory Board of Mercedes-Benz has prematurely extended the contract with Chief Executive Officer Ola Källenius by a further five years until 21 May 2029. In addition, the supervisory board extended the contract of Chief Technology Officer Markus Schäfer.
When the first reports emerged at the beginning of July that CEO Ola Källenius’ contract was to be extended until 2029, it was still said that the contract extension was to take place “in the summer”. Now, just weeks later, the time has come: the supervisory board of the Mercedes-Benz Group has decided to reappoint Ola Källenius as well as Markus Schäfer.
Källenius’ new contract is valid until 21 May 2029, while Schäfer’s has been extended until 21 May 2026. This has nothing to do with a lower level of confidence in the Chief Development Officer, but rather with the age regulation for board members that was decided in 2022. “For members who are 58 or 59 years old at the beginning of the contract, the term of office should not exceed two years; from the age of 60 years onwards, it should not exceed one year. Multiple contract extensions are possible,” the Supervisory Board wrote. Källenius is currently 54 years old, Schäfer is already 58.
“Ola Källenius has put Mercedes-Benz in an excellent position for the future. With the clear focus of the company on electrification, digitalisation and profitable growth with desirable cars and vans, he has demonstrated far-reaching strategic vision. In implementing the sustainable business strategy, he demonstrates determination and a sense of responsibility to all of the company’s employees in this transformative era,” said Bernd Pischetsrieder, Chairman of the Mercedes Supervisory Board, explaining the decision to extend his contract. “Markus Schäfer and his team have made decisive contributions to provide Mercedes-Benz with state-of-the-art technology to back this market-leading position. The two managers enjoy the greatest respect inside and outside the company. We are very much looking forward to our continuing working relationship.”
In addition, the Supervisory Board has decided to reorganise the Board of Management’s areas of responsibility in order to establish a cross-departmental steering and coordination function for sustainability management in the company at the Board of Management level. With effect from 1 August 2023, Renata Jungo Brüngger’s portfolio (currently “Integrity & Legal Affairs”) will be changed to “Integrity, Governance & Sustainability”.
“By placing central coordination at the Board of Management level, we are highlighting the fundamental importance of sustainability for the future success of the company,” said Pischetsrieder. “With Renata Jungo Brüngger, an experienced manager is taking on this crucial responsibility at Mercedes-Benz. The fact that sustainability is already firmly embedded in our corporate strategy today must be largely credited to her efforts. In close cooperation with all Board of Management areas, she together with her team will continue to drive our
sustainable business strategy forward.”
Jörg Burzer’s portfolio will also be adjusted: ‘Production & Supply Chain Management’ will become ‘Production, Quality & Supply Chain Management’ in order to anchor the responsibility for the topic of quality and “the great importance of this topic for the Mercedes-Benz brand” in the title of the department. In addition, Sabine Kohleisen’s ‘Human Resources’ will be renamed ‘Human Relations’ to reflect that “the name of this function now emphasises the centrality of cooperation with and between people for the personnel-related activities of Mercedes-Benz”.