After thirteen years at the helm and more than twenty on the board of parent company Daimler AG, Dieter Zetsche has stepped down from leading one of the most respected brands in the world, Mercedes-Benz. Zetsche’s retirement was first announced back in 2018, and the executive, now 66, has followed through on his plans. Being one of the most recognizable figures in the automotive industry, Zetsche, referred to affectionately as Dr. Z, became known as the face of Mercedes-Benz and Daimler to many, thanks in no small part to his signature mustache and glasses.
The Zetsche era at Mercedes-Benz, which lasted from 2006 until this week, was one of remarkable change and more than one shake up of the automotive landscape, but the period seems to have been a successful one for the Stuttgart-based automaker. Zetsche also served on the board of Daimler from 1998 until retirement, among other board positions he held, most notably a post at Deutsche Bank.
BMW took to social media to commemorate the moment, and to thank Zetsche for, “so many years of inspiring competition.” The competing automaker from Munich also posted a clever video, which takes a look at what Zetsche’s last day might have been like. In the clip, a Zetsche lookalike leaves behind masses of admiring employees, and is chauffeured home in an S-Class. Soon after arrival, and once the coast is clear, Zetsche blasts out of the garage in an i8 roadster finished in stunning E-Copper metallic, with the words, “Free at last,” appearing on the screen.—Alex Tock
[Video courtesy BMW AG.]