Daimler Names Speeks to Head U.S. Mercedes Unit
Daimler AG has named Nicholas Speeks, head of the company’s Mercedes-Benz brand in China for six years, to take over as CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA.
The 60-year-old succeeds Dietmar Exler, 51, who announced he is leaving the company to take a job outside the auto industry.
Speeks is known for energizing what he considered a network of lazy dealers in China, Automotive News says. He warned them there would be consequences for underperformance “no matter how good our business relationship has been in the past.
AN says Speeks may apply the same pressure in his new job, where market momentum is slowing. Mercedes sales in the U.S. through the first four months of 2019 are down 11%, compared with flat sales for rival BMW brand vehicles.