Mercedes-Benz South Africa Board of Directors

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South African at the helm of Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA)

  • New leadership on Board of Directors
  • Arno van der Merwe takes over as CEO of MBSA
  • Current CEO, Dr Martin Zimmermann to head Global Service and Parts business for the Mercedes-Benz and smart brands.

Pretoria – Great excitement reigns in the corridors of MBSA, as the company prepares to welcome its first South African-born Chief Executive Officer from 1 March 2014.

As of the 1st of March, the role of CEO of MBSA will be taken over by Mr Arno van der Merwe, when current CEO Dr Martin Zimmermann returns to DAG Stuttgart offices as Head of Global Service and Parts for the Mercedes-Benz and smart brands.

Van der Merwe will retain his current role as Vice President Manufacturing at the MBSA production plant, in addition to his responsibilities as CEO of the company. He was only the second South African to head up the internationally award-winning plant in East London in 2012, and will be the first CEO of South African birth to lead MBSA.

This announcement by parent company, Daimler AG (DAG), also accompanied a notification of changes to the Board of Directors at MBSA.

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Schrempp has resigned from the MBSA Board of Directors, having served the company in various roles, since 1974. He will be replaced as chair by Dr. Joachim Schmidt from January 2014.

Prof. Dr. Schrempp’s passion and enthusiasm for the advancement of MBSA has distinguished his time with the company. His dedication to South Africa and its people is also well known, including the instrumental role he played as Chairman of the Southern Africa Initiative of German Business (SAFRI) in brokering political, economic and social cooperation between the German business community and the SADC region.  Dr. Schmidt is also no stranger to South Africa, having served MBSA as member of the Board, while heading up DAG’s Global Sales Organisation.

Says Dr Schmidt: “We thank Dr Zimmermann for his tireless efforts during his tenure at MBSA, setting the company up in a new strategic direction with an exceptional growth trajectory. We are also confident that Mr van der Merwe’s strong track record of leadership and performance will further enhance the management team and the company’s goals for the future.”

Outgoing MBSA CEO Martin Zimmermann adds: “I am proud of Arno taking over from me. He has been groomed systematically during the past years to take over this senior leadership role, and his experience, passion, dedication and people-oriented leadership style will allow MBSA to continue its drive towards becoming the undisputed leader in all segments where it competes, as well as to remain a passionate contributor to the socio-economic development and transformation of South Africa.”

In October 2013, MBSA also announced the appointment of Naeem Hassim as co-CEO of its retail arm, Sandown Motor Holdings (Pty) Ltd, effective January 2014. Hassim will be leading Sandown Motor jointly with its current CEO, Roy McAllister, until taking over the reins from McAllister in January 2015. McAllister will remain a director and shareholder of Sandown thereafter, continuing to provide his extensive leadership and business experience to Sandown Motor.

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