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Automotive News said:
Mercedes-Benz USA names Ernst Lieb CEO
Halata will leave before contract expires

Diana T. Kurylko

Mercedes-Benz USA LLC will get a new CEO on Sept. 1.

Ernst Lieb, 51, CEO of DaimlerChrysler Australia/Pacific will replace Paul Halata (pictured) in the top Mercedes U.S. post. Halata, CEO since September 1999, will retire, sources say.

The German-born Lieb began his career with Mercedes-Benz in Canada in 1985 and became CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada in 1995, succeeding Halata.

He ran Mercedes-Benz Canada until 2003 and is credited with building sales momentum.

In 2003, he took over as CEO of DaimlerChrysler Australia/Pacific in Mulgrave, Victoria, Australia. He not only ran Mercedes-Benz sales and distribution in the region but also sales of the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands and DaimlerChrysler's trucks.

Like Halata, Lieb will be responsible for the sales, marketing and service of Mercedes-Benz and Maybach vehicles in the United States, and also parts and accessories.

Halata, 55, renewed his contract with Mercedes-Benz a year ago and was to have stayed through 2009.

The Czech-born executive began his career with Mercedes-Benz Canada in 1972. In 1989, he was promoted to the top Canadian job, which he held until 1995.

In 1995, Halata was named senior vice president of sales and marketing for the commercial van division in Europe. In 1997 he was appointed president of Mercedes-Benz UK, a job he held for two years.

Mercedes-Benz sales in the United States rose from 189,437 vehicles in 1999 to 224,269 vehicles in 2005. But in 2001, archrival BMW passed Mercedes in U.S. sales. BMW has remained the top-selling German brand.
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