Friday, September 18, 2009

Maier to step down

Mercedes-Benz's global head of sales and marketing, Klaus Maier, is stepping down for personal reasons, the carmaker said on Thursday. Joachim Schmidt, Maier's predecessor, will take up the post again.

Mercedes CEO Dieter Zetsche said he regretted the departure of Maier. The CEO said Maier "made his mark” in realigning Mercedes to appeal to a younger target group in addition to launching a reorganization of worldwide sales.

Schmidt, 61, was Mercedes' global sales and marketing boss from 1999 to 2005 until Maier replaced him.

Zetsche said it was largely due to Schmidt that the Mercedes brand in 2007 and 2008 grew at double-digit rates and extended its market leadership in the regions for which he was responsible.

Maier, 57, leaves Mercedes as the German premium brand is hard hit by the global economic crisis and collapse in luxury car sales.

Mercedes brand sales fell 17.5 percent to 632,700 cars in the first eight months compared with last year.
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