On the one hand, the record of Hehe has set up a decisive and arrogant “overbearing president” for Tsai Chee, but on the other hand, his personal label of “old urchin” is also very clear.
Chinese Entrepreneur Editor | Chen Ruiya
As the head of the world's largest luxury car group, Dieter Zetsche, 66, will step down as chairman of Daimler's board of directors and global president of Mercedes-Benz after the annual general meeting on May 22.
According to the German "Sunday Photo" report, Tsai Che will receive the highest pension paid to the president-level employees in Germany's history. From 2020, he will receive a daily pension of 4,250 euros (about 32,700 yuan). The pension consists of an annual pension of 1.05 million euros and the principal of the current Daimler Group pension plan. Prior to this, the pension record holder was Martin Wendern, President of the Volkswagen Group, with a daily rate of 3,100 euros.
At the same time, 49-year-old Daimler Group R&D director and board member Ola Källenius will replace Cai Che as the new CEO for a five-year term. Cai Che will then enter the board of supervisors and become the chairman of the board of supervisors in 2021.
13 years ago, in 2006, when Cai Che became CEO of the group, it was the bottom of the company. At that time, the merger of Daimler and Chrysler failed to prove its value. In 2005, BMW overtook Mercedes-Benz to become the world's number one luxury car. By 2018, Mercedes-Benz's global sales reached 2.31 million, ahead of BMW and Audi.
On the one hand, the record of Hehe has set up a decisive and arrogant “overbearing president” for Tsai Chee, but on the other hand, his personal label of “old urchin” is also very clear. Some media use "walrus beards, jeans and street diners" to summarize his personal characteristics.
Compared with other German auto industry giants, Tsai Chee's career path is also different.
Norbert Resef, who was the chairman and CEO of BMW in 2006, was transferred to the chairman of the company's supervisory board in 2015, with the 49-year-old “Younger” Harald Kruger ( Harald Kruger) took over; and Martin Winterkorn, who became the president of Volkswagen in 2007-2015, has yet to shake off the shadow of Volkswagen’s “gates”. In April 2019, the German Braunschweig Prosecutor's Office formally filed a lawsuit against five defendants, including Wendeng. Wendeng was suspected of being particularly serious in fraud and breaking the law of unfair competition.
Compared to the head of the German automotive industry at the same time, Cai Chee witnessed the glory of the automotive industry for a longer period of time.
Build the world's largest luxury car group
On May 5, 1953, Cai Che was born in Istanbul, Turkey. When he was 3 years old, he returned to Germany with his family. Since joining Daimler-Benz in 1976, he has been with the car kingdom for 43 years.
In 2006, Cai Che was in charge of Daimler, and the DaimlerChrysler Group was in the midst of investor doubts. Under the leadership of former president Jurgen Schrempp, Daimler-Benz spent $36 billion in 1998 to acquire Chrysler Automobile Company of the United States, and in the same year spent $3 billion to acquire a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors of Japan. The combined market value of DaimlerChrysler once climbed to $10.8 billion. However, in the nine years after the merger, Chrysler's operations in the United States have been in poor condition, and Daimler has significant differences in corporate culture, and Mitsubishi has suffered serious losses.
The solution given by Cai Che is to sell shares in Chrysler and Mitsubishi. In 2006, Nissan Motor Corporation took the opportunity to acquire a 34% stake in Mitsubishi, and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance was born. In 2007, private equity capital Cerberus acquired 80.1% of the Chrysler Group for $7.4 billion, and DaimlerChrysler, a car alliance across Germany, the United States, and Japan, collapsed.
In an interview with the German "Sunday World", Cai Che admitted that the acquisition of other car brands does not enhance the company's strength. "We have the industry's top brand Mercedes-Benz, and the integration of other car brands may drag us down. Whether it is to support the Mercedes-Benz brand or enhance the company's profitability, the acquisition has nothing."
After the focus, Mercedes-Benz's road to re-topping was not smooth. In terms of sales, BMW overtook Mercedes-Benz in 2005 to become the world's number one luxury car. In 2011, on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the Daimler Group, Mercedes-Benz was overtaken by Audi and fell to the third place in the world.
According to Bloomberg, since 2011, Tsai Che has led the renaissance of Mercedes-Benz's products and image. On the product, Mercedes-Benz launched the GLA crossover and CLA compact sedan, and is ahead of the competition on the SUV front. When Cai Che himself attended the public event, he appeared more in sports shoes, skinny jeans and a tie. In addition, competitors were affected by the emissions scandal and helped Mercedes-Benz. In 2016, Mercedes-Benz returned to the world's number one luxury car sales and became the champion of luxury car sales for three consecutive years.
The last footnote of the Cai Che period was the largest structural adjustment of the Daimler Group in the past 10 years.
On July 27, 2018, the Daimler Group announced a long-rumored major spin-off plan: reorganizing the Group's five divisions into three independent new companies, Mercedes-Benz AG (Mercedes-Benz AG) ), Daimler Truck AG and Daimler Mobility AG. From the outside world, the new corporate structure can make Daimler more flexible in the face of the challenges of the automotive industry.
However, this decision still needs to be approved by Daimler shareholders at the annual meeting in May 2019. If approved, Daimler’s restructuring plan will be officially implemented on January 1, 2020.
According to reports, as a successor, Kang Linsong has been working for the Daimler Group for 23 years. He is the first non-German board chairman in the history of Daimler Group and the first economically-born global in Daimler history. President of R&D.
One of his missions is to lead the Mercedes-Benz in the era of internal combustion engine driving and prove himself in the field of electric vehicles.
In May 2009, Daimler acquired nearly 10% of Tesla's shares. At the time, the two sides also announced cooperation to integrate Tesla's lithium-ion battery packs and charging electronics into the first 1,000 Smart electric vehicles. However, in October 2014, Daimler cleared out the shares of Tesla held in exchange for nearly $800 million in revenue. On May 6, 2019, the first electric SUV EQC of Mercedes-Benz was off the assembly line. According to Cai Che, Daimler will invest more than 10 billion euros in the expansion of the EQ series and invest more than 100 million euros in global battery production.
In terms of travel, Daimler’s exploration has also been ongoing.
In 2016, at the investor and technology company conference held in Berlin by Axel Springer, Germany's largest publishing group, Tsai Che was interviewed with Uber's then CEO, Travis Kalanic.
At that time, Uber had just completed the G round of financing, the valuation after the investment is close to 70 billion US dollars, more than the car manufacturers BMW, GM, Honda, close to the public, Daimler. Cai Che was asked if Daimler was interested in investing in Uber after Car2go and other travel operations. Cai Che said, “We only make controllable strategic investments.” Daimler has a dominant influence on the investment of the travel company BlackLane. If you want to invest in Uber and achieve the same control status, Daimler may have to spend 350. Billions of dollars in cash or equivalent, although Daimler is a very profitable company, but this is not something that will be considered in the near future.
While keeping a close distance with Uber, Tsai Chee is pushing Daimler to get closer to the car industry in the field of travel.
On February 22, 2019, Daimler and BMW, which are competitors, announced that they would jointly invest 1 billion euros to set up five joint ventures around the field of travel vehicles. Five days later, the two sides announced that they will jointly develop autonomous driving technology, focusing on the development of a new generation of driving assistance technology, L3/L4 highway automatic driving and L4 level automatic parking technology.
In addition, on May 9th, in the Chinese market, Geely Technology Group Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Geely Holding Co., Ltd., and Daimler Mobility Services GmbH, a mobile service company of Daimler, have completed the joint venture company Weixing Technology Co., Ltd. Business Registration. The two parties each account for 50% of the shares, the company's business scope is mainly in the travel, including car rental, network car and other services.
According to Tencent, Cai Che gave Kang Linsong great trust to his successor. "Whether he keeps the original plan or adjusts, it will inevitably be consistent with the company's consistent development. I believe This new and very capable management team is sure to lead the company better."
But on May 8th, who is about to retire, Tsai Chee told Reuters that to restore Mercedes-Benz's profit margin, Daimler's next CEO will face a daunting task.
In 2018, Daimler's full-year sales increased 2% year-on-year to 167.4 billion euros, but EBIT fell 22% to 11.132 billion euros, and net profit fell 29% to 7.6 billion euros. According to the latest financial report, Daimler's Q1 EBIT for 2019 fell to 2.8 billion euros, down 16% year-on-year, and net profit was 2.15 billion euros, down 9% year-on-year. “Since the first quarter, achieving the financial goals of 2019 has not been easy.” Tsai Che said in a statement. At the same time, the development of electric vehicles and self-driving cars has led to the development cost of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars rising from about 8 billion euros four years ago to 14 billion euros ($15.7 billion).
According to foreign media reports, Kang Linsong is preparing to implement a cost reduction plan with the goal of reducing management costs by 20% and saving billions of euros.
Another challenge that Conrinson faces is how to consolidate and enhance Mercedes-Benz's position in the Chinese luxury car market.
The Chinese market is regarded as the "second hometown" of Mercedes-Benz by Mercedes-Benz. It is a very important cornerstone of Mercedes-Benz's "new energy strategy" and is currently the largest market in Mercedes-Benz worldwide. After experiencing the “Car Roof Protection” of Xi'an Benz female car owners, on May 17, Mercedes-Benz announced that on September 1, 2019, the current president and CEO of Beijing Mercedes-Benz Sales Service Co., Ltd. Nicholas Speeks will take over the role of President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA and North America, and now Jan Deja, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Russia, will succeed Ni Kuang.
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