A former Adam Opel AG staffer recalls the folks at that General Motors Corp.-owned European unit taking notice in 1995 when Dieter Zetsche was put in charge of sales and marketing as a newly named member of the Mercedes-Benz board of management. It was a big leap, because Zetsche’s career at former Daimler-Benz AG had been mostly in engineering since he joined the German auto maker’s research division in 1972. The Zetsche board appointment’s wide shift to sales and marketing didn’t go ...

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