Capital: € 377 million
Age: 66
Born: 05/05/1953
Country of origin: Turkey
Source of wealth: Entrepreneurs
Last updated: 2023

Short introduction

Dieter Zetsche, born on May 5, 1953 in Istanbul, Turkey, is a German businessman, former CEO of the transnational group Daimler AG, head of Mercedes-Benz Cars (from 2006 to 2019) and member of the board of directors (from December 16, 1998 until May 22, 2019). Since 2010 he has lived in the municipality of Lierna on Lake Como, where he bought a villa.

Early life

Dieter Zetsche was born on May 5, 1953 in Istanbul, Turkey. His father Herbert Zetsche, a civil engineer by profession in 1953, was temporarily in Turkey to build a dam. The family returned to Germany in 1956. Dieter Zetsche attended school in Oberursel (near Frankfurt) and studied electrical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe from 1971 to 1976.

He has an engineering degree. In 1976 Dieter moved to the Daimler-Benz group and worked in the research department. In 1981 he became deputy development manager for vehicle construction. Dieter received his doctorate in 1982 from the University of Paderborn.


Zetsche became a member of the Board of Directors of DaimlerChrysler in 1998 and was Chairman of the Chrysler Group from mid-2000 to December 31, 2005. On January 1, 2006, Dieter accepted the offer from DaimlerChrysler CEO Jürgen Schremp to become chairman of the board of DaimlerChrysler (later Daimler AG) and to leave the position of CEO of the Chrysler Group.

On September 26, 2018, Dr. Zetsche resigned on May 22, 2019 in accordance with the Daimler AG Charter, which stipulates the need to rotate executives. After leaving the company, Zetsche took over the honorary post of chairman of the supervisory board. Dieter was included in Time Magazine’s 2006 list of the 100 Most Influential People of the Year in 2006.

On June 30, 2006, the Chrysler Group announced the Employee Pricing Plus program, in which Dieter Zetsche as Dr. Z (Doctor Zee), the DaimlerChrysler spokesman, was featured in a number of U.S. and Canadian television commercials.

The “Ask Dr. Z ”campaign included media components for television, radio, print, online, sales and customer relationship marketing as well as aggressive marketing strategies (mobile billboards, aerial banners, street teams) and was aimed at the NASCAR fan base. In the “Ask Dr. Z ”he answers customer questions and ends with“ goodbye ”.

In the advertising campaign, the customer benefit of the best American and German technology and the best design, which are installed in every Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicle, was emphasized. It was Zetsche driving a pile of wood in a Jeep Liberty, another spot showed him in the trunk of a Dodge Caravan minivan, and the last one showed him behind the wheel of a Chrysler Pacifica – when it was subjected to a crash test, it emerged unscathed from the wreck .

In response to falling sales, the Employee Pricing Plus program was extended until the end of August and the August campaign with three new TV spots without Dr. Z expanded. After three months, however, DaimlerChrysler hastily withdrew the Dr.-Z campaign due to a significant loss of market share. Some of the Dr. However, Z ads can still be seen on Canadian television.

CNW Marketing Research surveys found that most people Z thought to be a fictional character, did not notice the employee discount offer in the advertisements and listeners of radio advertising had difficulty understanding his German accent.

In February 2018, before announcing his departure from Daimler, Zetsche was elected to the Supervisory Board at the general meeting of the tourism company TUI AG. This was officially confirmed in May 2019 when Zetsche was appointed TUI’s new Chairman of the Supervisory Board.

Career highlights

He led an extremely effective management team at Chrysler Group and was nicknamed Doctor Zed (Dr. Z or Doctor Zee). The main reason for this was the Employee Prizing Plus incentive system he introduced on July 1, 2006. The nickname Dr. Z was used in the Ask Dr. advertising campaign. Ask Dr. Zed ran in North America, where Dieter Zetsche answered questions from potential buyers in English, but with a strong German accent.

On May 22, 2019, on the day of Dieter Zetsche’s resignation as head of Daimler AG, the competing automotive group BMW AG published a video on Dieter on its official video channel. The video, which lasts about a minute, shows how Zetsche leaves the company’s office on the last working day, says goodbye to the employees, gets into a Mercedes-Benz limousine waiting for him and drives home. At home, Dieter says goodbye to the driver, enters the house, goes into the garage from which he drives out with a BMW i8 Roadster. The video ends with the words “Thank you, Dieter Zetsche, for the long-standing, inspiring competition …”

Famous quotes

As proven by Tesla, there can also be a market on the other side of the range. If that’s a possibility, we’ll examine it.
– Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche

This is an industry where the cycle takes 14 or 21 years to get really strong and relevant.
– Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche


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