Nicholas Speeks, CEO of Mercedes USA is taking a leave of absence Automotive News reports. Speeks took over as the head of Mercedes’s North American division last fall and has diligently worked to navigate the luxury-car maker through the COVID-19 pandemic.
While it’s unknown what prompted the move by Mercedes, Speeks is not expected to return to his role with the company. The automaker named Drew Slaven, Mercedes-Benz USA Vice President of Marketing, as interim CEO.
Throughout his career with the company, Speeks has been a catalyst for growth in sales for Mercedes China. Under his six-year tenure, Mercedes China grew 20 percent annual rate, outperforming the rest of the premium market. Along with China, Speeks has worked with the company in Japan, Dubai, Vietnam, and Germany.
Slaven takes over as interim CEO with over 18 years of experience with the company. He began with Mercedes USA in 2002 as the Department Manager of Advertising and has worked as the VP, Chief Marketing Officer for the last six years.
Daimler is trying to recover from a second quarter that was significantly impacted by COVID-19. The company posted an operating loss of 1.68 billion euros ($1.91 billion) in second quarter. Last month, Daimler announced that it was stopping production of Mercedes-Benz sedans in the United States and Mexico in order to streamline production and cut costs.
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