Mercedes-Benz, the world’s third-biggest maker of luxury vehicles, appointed the head of the AMG high-performance business, Ola Kaellenius, to oversee sales as the company reorganizes how it deals with customers.
Kaellenius, 44, will succeed Mercedes sales chief Joachim Schmidt, who’s retiring at the end of the year after turning 65 this month. The change is effective in October, Stuttgart, according to a statement issued by the company.
Kaellenius, a Swedish national, led Mercedes-Benz’s high-performance engines business in Brixworth, England, and he was manager of the Mercedes auto plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, before taking the helm at AMG in April 2010.
“With Ola Kaellenius, we have someone with cars in his blood taking over the reins,” Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche said in the statement.
“We will reduce complexity, become faster and more flexible, and will give our divisions comprehensive responsibility to manage their business efficiently and farsightedly,” Zetsche said in a separate statement. “This is not primarily a matter of cost advantages, but of more direct customer relations and of course of increasing our unit sales.”
Daimler also said that sales, including at its banking unit, will be organized more strictly according to business lines, while country-based functions will be “streamlined.” Schmidt’s retirement, which comes two years before his contract expires, may mark the start of a larger generation change at the manufacturer, which also owns the Smart city-car brand and Mercedes, Freightliner and Fuso truck divisions.