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U.S. EXECUTIVE, EUROPEAN AUTOMAKER: Steve Cannon, CEO, Mercedes-Benz USA
 
Under Cannon's leadership, Mercedes-Benz USA took over the luxury brand sales lead in the United States through October, after finishing second to BMW in 2012 and 2011.
Mercedes is on target to set a U.S. sales record this year.
Meanwhile, the just-launched CLA compact is off to a strong start. Cannon, who was named CEO in January 2012, took a two-pronged approach to the CLA's marketing: A big splash in the Super Bowl this year, focusing on the $29,900 price, before shipping; and a digital campaign focused on Gen Y.
Cannon, 52, also has made customer service a top priority since taking over the top job.