Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler will be moving on to other ventures, as he announced to the board on Thursday that he will be stepping down. His exact plans for the future have not been revealed, but according to Automotive News Europe, he has accepted a job that is outside of the auto industry.
Nicholas Speeks, former head of sales in China, will be taking Exler’s place starting on September 1, 2019. Speeks has many years of experience in the auto industry globally and is expected to contribute greatly to the growth of Mercedes-Benz USA despite falling sales and unresolved trade tensions between the U.S. and other countries.
Most would argue Exler has done well for Mercedes-Benz, seeing as it has come out on top for the best selling luxury vehicle each year since he took over. Bloomberg reported in January that the auto giant yet again outperformed BMW, Lexus, and Audi, selling a total of 315,959 vehicles. Despite consistently dropping sales this year, the company doesn’t seem to be losing any traction as one of the most prominent in the luxury car industry.
Exler has said that being number one in the industry is important but “relating to the customer” is even more critical. He claims to always follow four pillars when running the business, which include cars, customers, communication and culture. He is well aware that the automotive industry is always changing and new challenges can come at any time; therefore, he tries to plan ahead but makes it a point to keep communication open when obstacles do arise.
Exler took over the company on January 1, 2016 when former CEO Steve Canon left to head AMB Group, LLC, an investment management firm. Exler has been with the company since 2002 when he was hired in the program development sector. He would go on to receive several promotions and moved to Germany in 2005 to serve as the COO of Daimler Financial Services Europe before returning to the U.S. to become the CEO.
Exler also serves on the Board of Directors for the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC).