December 21, 2015 — Mercedes Benz today announced that Dietmar Exler will replace Steve Cannon as president and CEO of MBUSA and NAFTA on January 1.
Cannon, who has served as MBUSA chief since December 2011, is leaving to head business operations for the AMB Group, Arthur Blanks’ companies including the Atlanta Falcons and the Atlanta Falcons Stadium Company, which is developing the Mercedes Benz Stadium; Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer; PGA TOUR Superstore; and Mountain Sky Guest Ranch.
Exler, meanwhile, takes over leadership of all of Mercedes’ operations in North America including at a time when sales are nearing all time records.
The automaker this year moved operations from Montvale, NJ to Atlanta, GA. Although November sales were down 11.7% from November 2014 (Mercedes’ best selling month in its history), the automaker should set a record for annual sales in the US. this year.
Mercedes blames the November drop on a shortage of compact crossover utility vehicles resulting from a slightly delayed change over moving from the GLK to the GLC.
The brand finished November a slight 2,500 vehicles behind BMW for the top spot in luxury sales. Cannon, however, recently has said Mercedes will not go crazy with incentives just to snare this year’s luxury crown.
Much of Exler’s career with Mercedes has been on the financial side. After five years with McKinsey & Co. as part of their financial group, he joined DaimlerChrysler Financial as in 2002 senior manager of program development. Exler was named vice president of marketing the same year. He also had a stint as head of Daimler Financial Services Europe and a member of Mercedes Benz Bank.
In 2010, he became vice president of Mercedes Benz Financial Services in the U.S. and then was named vice president of sales and marketing in January 2014. He is from Austria and has a doctorate in law from Johannes Kepler University in Linz along with a masters of law from University of Chicago.