Wolfgang Bernhard, the head of Daimler trucks and buses, will leave the company with immediate effect at his own request, the maker of the vehicles said Friday, confirming earlier media reports by magazine Der Spiegel and news agency DPA.
Mr. Bernhard's contract was set to expire in February 2018. His resignation comes unexpectedly. A decision on extending his contract was to be made in the coming weeks, according to German news agency DPA.
Originally, Mr. Bernhard, a 56-year-old manager, had been seen as a successor to Daimler's current Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche.
In a separate statement Daimler, which makes Mercedes Benz trucks and luxury cars, will extend the contract of Ola Källenius, currently responsible for group research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development to 2022.
The 47-year old's contract would have expired at the end of this year. Now Mr. Källenius is seen as the possible successor to Daimler's Mr. Zetsche, whose contract runs until December 31, 2019. The 63-year-old Mr. Zetsche has been at the helm of Daimler since 2006.
Mr. Bernhard’s departure is a blow to the company. Daimler’s truck division is currently struggling in the U.S. and other important markets and was about to roll out a €400-million ($425 million) savings program.