• Dieter Zetsche steps down as Daimler CEO, drives off in a BMW i8

Doctor Z ends 13-year role as Daimler chairman, BMW makes delightful tribute video

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Many agree that competition is constructive, and that it brings about progress, and that is probably the case when it comes to the rivalry between two premium German giants, Mercedes and BMW. And, now that the CEO of the former, Dieter Zetsche, has stepped down after over a decade at the helm, the latter has made a rather amusing tribute video to honor him. The video is called "Retirement is about exploring your wide open future."

BMW Tribute to Retired Mercedes CEO, Dieter Zetche

Doctor Z, as he became known in his 13 years leading Daimler (the company that owns Mercedes-Benz), now 59, has moved over to make way for a new CEO, Ola Källenius from Sweden, 49, but this isn’t where the story ends. BMW, one of Mercedes’ main rivals, published a tribute video to Zetsche’s time at Daimler, thanking him for keeping standards high and providing them with stern competition which in turn motivated the Bavarians to keep their standards high too.

Dieter Zetsche steps down as Daimler CEO, drives off in a BMW i8
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But, that’s not all, because in the video, Zetsche is shown leaving the Daimler HQ for the last time, and after he is dropped home in a Mercedes S-Class, he waits for the driver to depart only to drive off in a BMW i8 roadster. One of the video’s ending captions is “free at last,” suggesting that Dr. Z wanted to drive BMWs all along, but couldn’t because he worked for Mercedes. In other words, BMW honors the now former Daimler CEO by showing him driving off in the i8, a car he indirectly helped develop by keeping standards high and rival companies on their toes.

Dieter Zetsche steps down as Daimler CEO, drives off in a BMW i8
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This could only have happened in Germany where the big three premium automakers originate from and through this rather sassy, tongue-in-cheek kind of video, Zetsche is given a proper sendoff from the main rival to the company he worked for. That’s quite special and also rare.

Further reading

2019 BMW i8 Roadster
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Read our full review on the 2019 BMW i8 Roadster.

Andrei Nedelea
Andrei Nedelea
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