DaimlerChrysler UK president and chief executive Joachim Eberhardt is leaving the UK to fill Chrysler’s top marketing position in the US. Eberhardt, who moved to the UK position in 1999, oversaw last year’s Lucky Star campaign for the Mercedes SL, which took the form of a film trailer and starred actor Benicio Del Toro.
His move to the US follows the sudden resignation of Jim Schroer, who was executive vice-president, global sales, marketing and service for the Chrysler Group, responsible for the Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler brands. Schroer is understood to be pursuing other non-automotive marketing projects.
Eberhardt’s position at the helm of DaimlerChrysler in the UK is being filled by Wilfried Steffen, who heads the company’s operations in Switzerland. Previously, Steffen oversaw the integration of sales and marketing functions after the merger of DaimlerBenz and Chrysler in 1998.
According to company insiders, Eberhardt maintained a strong hands-on role in relation to marketing, and attempted to give the conservative image of the Mercedes brand a more “contemporary slant”. He personally oversaw the &£10m Mercedes’ advertising account move from Partners BDDH to Campbell Doyle Dye at the beginning of last year. Eberhardt was also responsible for the UK’s radical implementation of the new DaimlerChrysler retail strategy, sacking many dealers and buying up 42 per cent of distribution. He also oversaw the introduction of the Smart car.
A spokesman for DaimlerChrysler UK says Steffen will not be changing the car company’s UK strategy.