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Daimler Truck Southern Africa appoints first female CEO

Outgoing CEO and president of DTSA Michael Dietz (left) hands over the reins to Maretha Gerber.

MARETHA Gerber has been appointed Daimler Truck Southern Africa's (DTSA) first female president and CEO effective April 1 2024. It is a giant leap for the company's leadership and dedication to gender equality in the motor industry.

This is something that Zimbabwe can learn from as it remains a male-dominated industry.

Gerber will take over from departing CEO Michael Dietz, who is moving on to a new position as CEO of the Regional Centre Middle East and Africa.

Gerber offers extensive expertise to the role that is not found anywhere else in the Daimler organisation.

She has worked for the firm for over 20 years, during which time she has been involved in many different areas, including marketing, sales, and dealer management. She started out as an employee of what was then Daimler Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz SA, but she worked her way up the ranks.

 In 2018, Gerber continued her rise to the top by becoming the head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks.

The fact that she rose through the ranks to become vice-president of sales and marketing for both Mercedes-Benz and Fuso Trucks is evidence of the breadth of her responsibilities at the firm, thanks to her strategic thinking and leadership.

In his brief to the media, Andreas von Wallfeld, CEO of Daimler Truck Overseas, praised Gerber's extensive background and outstanding client interaction as reasons for her selection for the position. As Dietz takes on his new worldwide job, the same heartfelt recognition is extended to him for his quality and knowledge. Dietz has been with the Daimler brand since 1990 and has served in numerous roles.

As she takes on her new role, Gerber hopes to see expansion and fresh ideas implemented.

They expect her leadership to take DTSA to new heights, given the company's history of impact in the commercial vehicle industry, especially in Southern Africa. With a keen eye on next-generation e-mobility solutions, her emphasis on collaboration and using the capabilities of DTSA's seasoned leadership and skilled staff is in line with the company's forward-looking objective.

In line with worldwide movements towards lowering carbon emissions and encouraging environmental responsibility, DTSA's business strategy focuses on the transition to sustainable mobility.

With Gerber at the helm, DTSA is poised to revolutionise the heavy vehicle sector in Southern Africa by bringing electric trucks to the market later this year.

Among the many products the firm offers, built in East London, are trucks from Fuso, Mercedes-Benz, and Mercedes-Benz buses. Freightliner and Western Star Trucks are among the brands that DTSA supports with parts and services.

Its sphere of influence extends across Southern Africa, touching on marketplaces in countries like South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.

When I asked her about her vision for Zimbabwe, Gerber said she was honoured to have been entrusted with this opportunity to take over as CEO of Daimler Truck Southern Africa.

“Zimbabwe is one of our focus markets, where we want to invest and grow so that we cannot only support the country but also the operators running in and throughout the country with spares and new vehicles.

Zimbabwe is 100% in our strategy of growth and strengthening from Daimler Truck Southern Africa’s perspective,” she said.

This significant appointment further solidifies Mercedes-Benz Trucks' dedication to excellence and market leadership after the brand's 2023 gaining of the heavy commercial vehicle market leader position in South Africa.

Additionally, in 2022, DTSA celebrated 60 years of manufacturing at its East London factory, which played a crucial role in assembling the brands it owned. The name change to DTSA, after Daimler Truck AG's split from Mercedes-Benz Group, highlights the company's exclusive concentration on the transportation and trucking industries.

With Gerber at the helm, DTSA is ready to make waves in business and become a leader in its field. Her groundbreaking work as a female leader challenges industry standards and highlights the value of diverse leadership, marking a culture shift for DTSA and the automotive industry as a whole.

The primary goal of Daimler Truck Southern Africa is to provide top-notch assistance to clients in their operations. Customers can trust that the electric, safe, dependable, and connected cars and services that they create meet all of their needs.

Our clients, and everyone else, who keeps Africa going, can always count on them. Regardless of department or brand, they are all working towards the same goal, and that is what motivates them.

“We work for all who keep Africa moving" is a statement that the employees of Daimler Truck Southern Africa hold in high regard. This statement refers to the transporters, who move commodities from various African ports to places like supermarkets, building projects, and hospitals.

For those, who offer transport services, whether it is to and from work, school, or vacation destinations, this goes for a lot of things, including the public services that ensure towns and streets are clean.

Every day, they are motivated by this objective. With over 40 manufacturing facilities worldwide and over 100 000 people, they are among the biggest commercial vehicle manufacturers in the world.

Coaches, bus chassis, city buses, intercity buses, and heavy-duty vehicles are all part of their inventory.

Daimler Truck AG, a global leader in commercial vehicles since the creation of the truck more than 125 years ago, is a pioneer in the industry today.  Daimler Truck Southern Africa Ltd and its subsidiaries have been serving consumers since their establishment in South Africa more than 60 years ago.  The company offers a wide range of goods and services to ensure that customers have an ideal experience.

Zimoco represents DTSA locally.

Who is Maretha Gerber?

Gerber has over 20 years of experience in the Daimler organisation, including stints at Daimler Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz South Africa.

She has a marketing degree. Maretha worked her way up the sales, marketing, and dealer network management ranks within Daimler before taking up a position as a dealer principal in the Mercedes-Benz Own Retail dealer network, after which she returned to headquarters in 2018 to assume the role of head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks and, since 2021, in her current role as vice-president of sales and marketing for Mercedes-Benz Trucks and FUSO.


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