New Strategy For Daimler Trucks North America

By Mike Brezonick02 March 2020

Daimler Trucks North America LLC (DTNA) announced to its Freightliner and Western Star dealers that it is reshaping its product strategy, and sales and marketing teams into a segment-based business structure. The move, announced at the annual dealer meeting, is intended to better position DTNA to serve both the On-Highway and Vocational segments in which Freightliner and Western Star brands compete by aligning internal resources to segment-specific customer needs.

“We are organizing our business to bring equally strong focus to both our On-highway and Vocational truck customers,” said Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of DTNA. “Along with that, the best people, products, service and support have been combined to grow our two strong truck brands across both segments,” said Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of DTNA. “This new strategy will ensure that we are delivering the best experience for customers, no matter the application or the industry.”

Accompanying the unveiling of the new market approach, DTNA announced new roles for the leaders of both Freightliner and Western Star. Richard Howard, senior vice president of sales and marketing, will now assume responsibility for DTNA’s complete portfolio of on-highway trucks as the senior vice president, On-highway sales and marketing. David Carson, president of Western Star, will transition to the role of senior vice president, Vocational sales and marketing. In his new role, Carson assumes responsibility for the full portfolio of vocational trucks at DTNA.

As part of the newly announced segment strategy,DTNA also announed several executive appointments.
Drew Backeberg will assume the newly created position of vice president, On-Highway sales. Backeberg is an 18-year veteran of DTNA, holding roles of increasing responsibility in the sales organization throughout his tenure. In his new role he will lead the dealer sales business for on-highway products, including the Freightliner Cascadia, Western Star 5700, and certain M2 applications such as pickup and delivery.

Peter Arrigoni has been promoted to the new position of vice president, Vocational sales, bringing an increased focus on growth in the Vocational segment. Arrigoni has been with DTNA since 2016 and is a 13-year veteran of the industry. Similar to the on-highway organization, Arrigoni’s new vocational team will have a regional structure that includes three regions in the U.S. and a matrixed reporting structure for Canada. The vocational field sales team is responsible for the entire DTNA vocational product line including the Western Star 4700, 4800, 4900 and 6900, and the Freightliner EconicSD, 108SD, 114SD, 122SD and the M2 for vocational applications.

Richard Saward will lead a Vocational national accounts team. As vice president, Vocational national accounts, Saward and his team will continue to support truck equipment manufacturers, while identifying growth opportunities for vocational fleet business. Saward is a 40-year veteran of DTNA, holding roles of increasing responsibility in the sales organization of DTNA and its affiliated brands throughout his tenure.

Kary Schaefer will lead the marketing and product strategy teams for both the On-highway and Vocational segments that include Freightliner, Western Star and Detroit products. In her role as general manager, marketing and product strategy, Schaefer will concentrate on market development, platform product strategy, marketing intelligence, planning, reporting, and digital experience. Schaefer is a 21-year veteran of DTNA, holding increasing roles of responsibility throughout her tenure in engineering, product planning and marketing.

Reporting to Schaefer are Samantha Parlier, vice president of Vocational market development, who will assume responsibility for the complete vocational lines of both Freightliner and Western Star and Kelly Gedert, vice president of On-highway market development.

Parlier has been with DTNA since 2017 and has a long history of executive leadership at original equipment manufacturers serving the commercial vehicle industry. Gedert, vice president of On-highway market development, will assume responsibility for the on-highway products for both Freightliner and Western Star. She will additionally have market development responsibility for Detroit, whose components serve both segments. Gedert is a 13-year veteran of DTNA with increasing responsibility in product strategy and marketing.

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