Oh no, Dieter said the F-word

Some of you might think that the headline above refers to the swear word that rhymes with truck, but if you are in a job like the one held by Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche there is a much more dangerous F-word. That word is "fun."

Yes, "fun" is bad. And so is being "happy."

Just ask former Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking.

Just weeks before he was dismissed Wiedeking was asked about speculation Porsche was ready to fire him. His reply: "I am a happy CEO and feel fit as a fiddle in this role."

Now he is fit as a fiddle -- and unemployed.

Fast forward to this week and you find out that Zetsche made a similar statement when asked to respond to rumors that he might not remain Daimler CEO when his contract expires at the end of next year.

"I am having fun in my job and am not interested in another one," the CEO told German weekly magazine Wirtschaftswoche.

Maybe Zetsche is still having a great time leading Daimler.

Maybe "fun" isn't code for "I know my days are numbered."

But that is not the message that keeps being leaked to the German media.

The bottom line is that the excitement and hope that coincided with Zetsche's promotion to Daimler boss in summer 2005 is long gone. He has not done anything truly spectacular as CEO and could be running out of time.

In that same interview with Wirtschaftswoche, Zetsche promised that Daimler will reach its targets.

The automaker's third-quarter results are due out on Oct. 27. We'll know then just how well things are going and have a better idea whether Zetsche soon might be having "fun" on the sidelines with "happy" Wiedeking.

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