Daimler Trucks North America getting new CEO

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Updated Feb 18, 2021

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) will get a new CEO this spring. The Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG has appointed John O’Leary as the next president and CEO of DTNA.

Effective April 1, 2021, O’Leary will follows Roger Nielsen, who will retire effective April 30, 2021, after 35 years in the company, the last four years as its president and CEO.

John O'LearyJohn O'Leary will become the next DTNA president and CEO in April.O’Leary, 60, started at DTNA with Freightliner in 2000. After establishing internal transformation-processes, he led the U.S. school bus business as the president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. From 2010, O´Leary was the senior vice president for the Aftermarket business before becoming the CFO of DTNA in 2012 under then president Martin Daum (2009-2017) and Roger Nielsen (2017 to 2020).

Since September 2020, O’Leary has been the Chief Transformation Officer for Mercedes-Benz Trucks in Germany, laying the foundation for its transformation and profitability improvement. In this role he also led the Mercedes-Benz Truck organization until the start of Karin Radström in February 2021.

"John O’Leary has more than 20 years of experience at DTNA and knows the North American commercial vehicle business like no other. As CFO of DTNA and lately as Chief Transformation Officer of Mercedes-Benz Trucks he has proven that his experience and knowledge make him just the right person to successfully lead DTNA into the future,” says Martin Daum, president and CEO, Daimler Truck AG and member of the board of management Daimler AG.

Nielsen, also 60, has been the president and CEO of DTNA since April 1, 2017. Under his leadership he started several customer trials with the Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 and launched the Thomas Built Buses Jouley school bus to pave the way to CO2-neutral transport at DTNA. In addition, he renewed the Western Star product lineup and the vocational truck business and made DTNA the most successful truck OEM in the U.S., the company says. 

Nielsen began his career in 1986 as a Freightliner manufacturing engineer responsible for wiring harness testing, followed by management positions in manufacturing, supply-chain-management and as COO froom 2001 to 2016. 

Adds Daum, "I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Roger Nielsen for his dedication to the success of DTNA and his successful positioning of our brands Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses. Besides his passion for our business and unprecedented customer orientation, he is the embodiment of responsible people leadership.”

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