‘Very German’ Daimler aims to diversify

Daimler, the car-maker founded by Gottlieb Daimler in a small town near Stuttgart in 1890, has warned it might be too German to succeed on the world stage.

Wilfried Porth, Daimler's human resources manager, said the company, which also owns the Mercedes-Benz marque, is bringing in a "foreigner quota" to ensure that more non-Germans reach management positions. "The company is still very German at management level," he told Germany's Die Welt newspaper.

"Daimler is a global company, and the big growth is currently happening in the United States, China or other countries in East Asia. We need more leaders from those regions."

More than a third of Daimler's 270 000 staff work outside of Germany, but the vast majority of managers are German. Porth said Daimler will aim to recruit 50% of new managers from overseas. It also wants to increase the percentage of female recruits to 35%.

The firm didn't respond to requests for comment on the proportion of foreign or female recruits on its management training programme. Daimler has been struggling to keep up with competitors in exploiting growing demand in developing countries.

Daimler's profits dropped
Luxury car sales in China are expected to overtake the US and reach 2.7-million by 2020.

Daimler's profits dropped by 10% last year and analysts do not expect an increase this year.

The company's under-pressure chief executive Dieter Zetsche was at the Geneva Motor Show on March 5 to unveil a new Mercedes model seen as key to the car-maker's turnaround. It was his first public appearance since the company's board extended his contract by three years rather than an expected five.

Under Zetsche's seven-year leadership, Daimler's share price rose by just 6% compared with a 87% jump at BMW and a fivefold increase at VW. – © Guardian News & Media 2013

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