Zetsche says he’ll stay in charge of Mercedes until it is back on track

BERLIN — Incoming DaimlerChrysler AG chief executive Dieter Zetsche said in an interview published Sunday that he will remain in personal charge of its Mercedes Car Group at least until the troubled unit is back on track.

Zetsche, who turned around the Chrysler unit in the U.S., took control of Mercedes in September. He is set to succeed Juergen Schrempp as CEO of DaimlerChrysler in January.

Asked by the Bild am Sonntag newspaper how long he would keep both jobs, Zetsche was quoted as saying: “to begin with, without a time limit — at least until Mercedes is once again well under way.”

“But even beyond that, there is no fundamental necessity to separate the two tasks,” he added.

DaimlerChrysler plans to cut 8,500 jobs at Mercedes in Germany as it tries to return the brand to profitability.

The Mercedes division was once the pride of the company, but it has been troubled by quality problems, a strong euro and model changeovers.

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