Michael Slagter, current senior VP sales, to retire after 38 years in auto industry Mercedes-Benz USA announced the appointment of Dietmar Exler to the position of VP of sales, effective January 1, 2014. In this role, Exler will have overall responsibility for the company's sales, volume planning and distribution operations in the United States, reporting to Steve Cannon, president and CEO of MBUSA. Exler succeeds Michael Slagter, senior CP of sales, who will retire at the end of February after 11 years of service with MBUSA and nearly four decades in the automotive industry. Slagter began his automotive career with Ford Motor Company in 1976. He moved to the Lexus brand in 1990, initially serving as regional GM for their western region. He was then appointed corporate marketing manager and later served as corporate sales and dealer development manager where he supervised all Lexus Division national sales, distribution, dealer placement and pre-owned activities. Slagter subsequently held management positions with Lexus in retail and on the agency side, becoming retail division director at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising in Calif. in 2002. He joined MBUSA in 2003 as VP of sales, west, where he headed all business areas in the company's western region based out of Los Angeles. Slagter was named VP of sales operations in 2007, leading MBUSA's sales team through the financial crisis of 2008 and ensuing economic recession. In recognition of his significant contributions to the company's success, he was promoted to senior vice president, sales operations, in 2012. Exler's career spans nearly two decades with international business experience in various leadership roles. He began at McKinsey & Co in 1997 as part of the financial interest group in their Germany office and later in their Midwest office (Detroit, Mich.,). Five years later, Exler joined Chrysler Financial as senior manager of program development and was promoted to VP of marketing the same year. In 2004, he became VP of customer services for (then) DaimlerChrysler Financial Services in Farmington Hills, Mich., before transferring to Germany in 2005, where he served as chief operating officer of Daimler Financial Services Europe and member of the board at Mercedes-Benz Bank. Exler returned to the U.S. in 2010 after being appointed vice president for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA. Originally from Austria, Exler studied at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, where he received his doctorate in law. He also holds a master of laws from the University of Chicago. Exler has been a member of the New York State Bar Association since 1997.