Dieter Zetsche studied electrical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe and came to the Research unit of Daimler-Benz AG in 1976.
In 1981, he assisted the Development managers in the Commercial Vehicle Division. Dr. Zetsche was awarded a doctorate in engineering in 1982 from Paderborn Technical University, and from 1984 was responsible for coordinating foreign development activities in the management of Commercial Vehicle Development. In 1986, he became the main adviser for cross-country vehicle design and assumed responsibility for development work in the cross-country vehicle unit of Daimler-Benz AG. In 1987, he went to Mercedes-Benz do Brasil as head of Development, and joined the top management their one year later. He remained involved in South America and managed Mercedes-Benz Argentina in 1989, subsequently becoming President of Freightliner Corp. in Portland, Oregon, USA, in 1991. One year later, he was appointed deputy member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG responsible for Development Passenger Car Division.
Dr. Dieter Zetsche has been a member of the Board of Management since 16 December 1995, holding various areas of responsibility. In September 2005, he assumed responsibility for the Mercedes Car Group and, in January 2006, he was additionally made Chairman of the Board of Management of DaimlerChrysler AG. Since the separation from Chrysler in October 2007, he has been working in the same function in the newly formed Daimler AG.