Düsseldorf In the middle of the renovation, digital boss Sajjad Khan is leaving the car manufacturer Daimler. In September he will give up his post as board member of the Mercedes-Benz passenger car division, the company announced on Tuesday, surprisingly. In the ranks of the manufacturer, the manager with Pakistani roots is considered a pioneer for the introduction of new software with which the vehicles from the Stuttgart-based company are upgraded for the era of digitization.
With Magnus Östberg, Daimler presented a successor to the outgoing Khan. Like CEO Ola Källenius, the 48-year-old is a Swede and has previously worked for the suppliers Delphi and Aptiv. It now falls to Östberg to prepare Daimler for the digital age. Like VW, BMW and other car manufacturers, the group is faced with the task of electrifying its vehicles and upgrading them with new software solutions. From the point of view of experts, the process is far from over.
As important as Khan was to the company, he was also controversial. In the past few years, there had been repeated competitions between him and Chief Development Officer Markus Schäfer, as it was called in corporate circles. Both men wanted to keep the appearance of unity to the outside world, but internally there was a regular bang.
According to Daimler, Khan is leaving at his own request in order to want to be an independent investor in the future. “I wish Sajjad Khan all the best for his career as an independent entrepreneur,” said Bernd Pischetsrieder, Chairman of the Supervisory Board.
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It is not the first time that Khan has left the Swabians. He first started work at Daimler 20 years ago, but then switched to Magna and BMW. In 2015 he returned to Daimler and took over the management of the software unit, which also includes the development of self-driving cars.
With his knowledge, Khan is likely to be highly sought after in the industry. It is therefore also conceivable from the point of view of people in his environment that he could switch to Volkswagen or another manufacturer in the medium term. A direct change is usually not possible due to competition clauses in the manager contracts.
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