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All change in Benz management

New Benz boss: Incoming Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific chief Hans Tempel.

Mercedes-Benz appoints new leaders for Australia and overseas

Mercedes-Benz logo9 Feb 2010

MERCEDES-BENZ Australia/Pacific president and CEO Wolfgang Schrempp has taken early retirement and returned to Germany.

The company has told GoAuto this week that Mr Schrempp turned 60 last September and left Australia late in December.

His replacement will be Hans Tempel, the current president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Japan, whose official start date is March 15.

Mr Tempel has more than two decades’ experience with Mercedes-Benz and is a former head of global sales and marketing for its trucks division.

He has spent the past eight years as head of Mercedes in Japan and in recent times has also served as chairman of the Japan Automobile Importers Association (JAIA).

“He’s been in all parts of the company at different times, so he’s right across every aspect of the business, which is great,” said Mercedes-Benz Asia/Pacific senior manager of corporate communications David McCarthy.

 center image Left: Former Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific president and CEO Wolfgang Schrempp. Below: Daimler AG chief executive Dieter Zetsche

Mr Schrempp took charge of the Australian and Pacific region operations of DaimlerChrysler in September 2006, moving from his post as president and CEO of the company’s Italian branch when DaimlerChrysler Aus/Pac chief Ernst Lieb was promoted to the top job at Mercedes-Benz USA.

Mr Tempel’s replacement in Japan will be Nicholas Speeks, a Brit who is currently president and CEO of Daimler Middle East and Levant FZE (a subsidiary of Daimler AG, based in Dubai).

Meanwhile, Daimler AG announced last week that it intended to appoint Wolfgang Bernhard as a full member of the board of management, making him responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars production and procurement – as well as retaining responsibility for the Mercedes vans division.

The move heralds the return of Dr Bernhard to a level where he will help drive the future of the German auto giant with chief executive Dieter Zetsche, with whom he worked to reshape Chrysler when it was under the control of Daimler-Benz.

In 2004, Dr Bernhard was announced as the incoming head of Mercedes cars, but union opposition to his cost-cutting methods and reported disagreements over a range of issues with senior management, including former CEO Juergen Schrempp, led to his departure just a day before the appointment was to be effective.

He moved to Volkswagen in 2005 as VW brand chief, and left in 2007. He returned to Daimler last April as head of the Mercedes van business.

As head of production and procurement, Dr Bernhard will replace Rainer Schmueckle and could now be in line to succeed Dr Zetsche as CEO.

Daimler said in a statement that “discussions are being held with Rainer Schmueckle” about his future, with overseas reports indicating that he is expected to leave the car-maker.

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