Mercedes-Benz USA has appointed Dietmar Exler, the head of its financial services arm, as vice president of sales.
Exler, 45, will succeed Michael Slagter, 61, who will retire at the end of February after 11 years with Mercedes-Benz USA.
Exler, who was born in Austria, will assume responsibility for the brand’s sales, volume planning and distribution in the United States starting Jan. 1. He is currently vice president for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA. It was not immediately clear who would succeed Exler in his current post.
In 1997, Exler joined the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. as part of the finance group in Germany and later moved to the company’s Detroit office.
In 2002, he became senior manager of program development at Chrysler Financial and was promoted to vice president of marketing the same year. In 2004, he became vice president of customer services for DaimlerChrysler Financial Services in Farmington Hills, Mich. He went back to Germany in 2005 as COO of Daimler Financial Services Europe and as a member of the board at the Mercedes-Benz Bank. Exler returned to the United States in 2010 as vice president for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA.
Slagter has been in the automotive industry for nearly four decades, Mercedes-Benz says. “Mike’s strategic expertise, strong leadership and vast experience have been instrumental in driving MBUSA to the strongest growth in its history,” Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, said in a statement.
Slagter began his automotive career with Ford Motor Co. in 1976. He moved to the Lexus brand in 1990 as regional general manager for the Western region. He was promoted to corporate marketing manager and later served as corporate sales and dealer development manager, supervising Lexus’ national sales, distribution, dealer placement and pre-owned activities.
He left Lexus in 2002 to become retail division director at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising in Torrance, Calif. He joined Mercedes in 2003 as vice president of sales for the Western region.
Slagter was named vice president of sales operations in 2007 and promoted to senior vice president of sales operations in 2012.