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Ernst Lieb Ousted as Mercedes US Chief

Unexpected ouster effective immediately – but no explanations.

by on Oct.17, 2011

Ernst Lieb introducing the then-new Mercedes-Benz ML450 at the 2009 New York Auto Show.

In a striking and unexpected move Daimler AG has announced that Ernst Lieb has been relieved of his duties as CEO of the maker’s Mercedes-Benz USA operations effective immediately.

The move took even well-placed insiders by surprise, triggering a variety of rumors about the well-liked executives sudden departure.  Company officials issued only a terse formal statement noting, “Ernst Lieb has been excused from his duties as CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), effective immediately. Daily business operations of MBUSA will be conducted by Herbert Werner (CFO and Vice President Finance, Controlling & IT) until further notice.”

The fact that Werner will handle Lieb’s duties on an apparently temporary basis underscores the apparent suddenness of the shake-up.

Your Inside Source!

“I don’t understand this.  It had to be something personal considering they’re gaining share and improving sales,” said analyst Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting.

Since taking the helm at Mercedes-Benz USA, Lieb has overseen steady growth.  Mercedes sales are up 10.4% for the year, well ahead of the overall U.S. automotive market’s slow revival.  The maker is now the leading luxury brand in the U.S. – pushing past Toyota’s Lexus division which has suffered serious product shortages as a result of Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

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