FRANKFURT (Bloomberg) -- Daimler plans a new leadership model to better react to market shifts and brace for competition as Silicon Valley giants Google and Apple plot inroads into the automotive industry.
As part of a program dubbed "Leadership 2020," Daimler will assign 150 executives worldwide to internal talks about management policies and how the company needs to change to speed up innovation, the automaker said in a letter to employees obtained by Bloomberg.
"We will re-evaluate, and if necessary, redefine the way we lead our employees, our business and ourselves," Daimler said in the letter signed by CEO Dieter Zetsche and other management board members. “There is no predetermined outcome to this process. It will be kicked off in January and continue with six months of open dialog.”
Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand is poised to overtake Volkswagen Group's Audi this year as the world’s second-largest maker of luxury cars, driven by a revamped lineup of SUVs and the flagship S-class sedan.
Mercedes and Audi are pushing to surpass BMW as market leader by 2020. All three, meanwhile, are fighting to stay relevant as cars become, like mobile phones, an extension of their drivers’ connected lives.
Mercedes has already engineered a turnaround in profitability. After lagging behind its two German peers for years, the brand was the only one to reap a double-digit profit margin in the third quarter, with a return on sales of 10.5 percent.