Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche is handing off to his successor after 13 years at the helm as the company faces challenges from the transition to electric cars and digital transportation technologies.

Zetsche received prolonged applause from shareholders at the company’s annual meeting in Berlin on Wednesday until he made the time-out sign with an embarrassed smile.

Successor Ola Kallenius moves up from head of development at the company’s Mercedes-Benz luxury brand. He will steer the Stuttgart-based automaker through the ramp-up of electric vehicle production and competition with tech companies over new ways of getting around, such as ordering cars as a service through smartphone apps.

Incoming Daimler CEO Ola Kaellenius lifts a thumb prior to the annual shareholder meeting of the car manufacturer Daimler in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, May 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Incoming Daimler CEO Ola Kaellenius lifts a thumb prior to the annual shareholder meeting of the car manufacturer Daimler in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, May 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Shareholders were to approve a new structure in which the car and van business and the truck and bus business would become legally independent.