Daimler has expanded its board of management to six members by appointing Wolfgang Bernhard to a newly created position heading Mercedes-Benz cars production and procurement as well as the Mercedes-Benz vans division he has run since early last year.
Berhnard’s appointment was effective immediately and is until the end of February 2013.
Daimler’s supervisory board also extended the contract of management board chairman Dieter Zetsche, who also heads Mercedes-Benz Cars, to 31 December, 2013.
The contract of Thomas Weber, the management board member who heads group research and Mercedes-Benz cars development, was also extended until the end of 2013.
Bernhard became head of Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz vans division in April 2009. A successor for his current post will be named soon, the automaker said.
Bernhard has a long history in the auto industry, primarily with Daimler-Benz and Volkswagen. His resume includes production roles at Mercedes-Benz and CEO of Mercedes-AMG and, after the merger of Daimler-Benz and Chrysler, he joined Dieter Zetsche in Detroit to help run Chrysler. He was also a DaimlerChrysler board member and chief operating officer of Chrysler Group.
He later joined the Volkswagen board, headed the VW brand group including Skoda, Bentley and Bugatti, and ultimately became VW chairman. Early in 2007, Bernhard left VW’s board and became a short-term advisor to investor Cerberus Capital Management which had bought an 81% stake in Chrysler from Daimler.
Daimler announced in February 2009 Bernhard would return to head the Mercedes-Benz vans division, reporting once again to Zetsche.
Earlier this month, Daimler said he would now also head head production and purchasing at Mercedes-Benz Cars. His ascendancy to a management board post boosted the automaker’s shares and fuelled talk he might now be Zetsche’s heir-apparent.