History has been made. No, we’re not talking about some politician actually keeping to a promise made. We’re talking about history being made for Daimler Trucks Southern Africa (DTSA) and indeed for the entire truck OEM side of the industry.
For the first time in the history of the industry, a lady (I hope that’s politically correct) has been appointed as the head of a major truck manufacturer. The lady is Maretha Gerber – a born and bred South African – who now heads Daimler Trucks Southern Africa as President and Group CEO taking over the head honcho position from that grand man Michael Dietz who is heading off to Dubai where he will be taking up the position of President and CEO of Regional Centre Middle East and Africa where he will be responsible for the Daimler Truck operations in some 67 regions. Both Maretha and Michael will start in their new roles, effective 1 April 2024.
Gerber holds a degree in marketing and has more than twenty years’ experience within the Daimler organization, including previously Daimler Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz South Africa. She held various management roles across sales, marketing, and dealer network in these companies before moving to a Dealer Principal role in the Mercedes-Benz dealer network in Own Retail. In 2018 she moved back into Head Quarters as the Head of Mercedes-Benz Trucks and subsequently became the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Mercedes-Benz Trucks and FUSO Trucks, the position she currently holds.
Michael Dietz, who is now passing on the South Africa baton, joined the Daimler company in Germany in 1990 as sales executive. After numerous roles in sales, he was appointed as the Head of Key Account Management: Mercedes-Benz Trucks Germany in 2002. Two years later, in 2004, he took over as Director Government Business, Diplomats & Special Vehicles. In 2011 he was appointed the Global Head of Sales, Marketing & Services, Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks and thereafter Global Head of Marketing Mercedes-Benz Trucks in 2015. Michael joined DTSA in January 2020 in his current capacity.
Commenting on her appointment, Gerber said: “I am honoured to be given this opportunity and am excited to work with the experienced leadership team and talented employees at DTSA and to lead the group of companies to new heights. Together with our dealers and general distributors, we look forward to contributing to further growth and success and to build a brighter future for all stakeholders.”
As for Dietz, who arrived in South Africa in January 2020 to be immediately shoved into Covid lockdown, he has nothing but good to say of Gerber. “With your proven track record, DTSA is left in very capable hands. May you thrive in your new role.”
He also warmly thanked customers, the DTSA network and DTSA group of companies’ employees for an amazing four years. “Together we had a lot of success. This amazing and unique country and its people will forever hold a special place in my heart.”
Having had close interactions with both Gerber and Dietz over the past years, FleetWatch can attest to them being two very special people who have a passion for all things trucking – and especially for the welfare of their customers as well as the industry at large. While holding high positions in one of South Africa’s premier companies, both have always retained a sense of humility being accessible to all. In short, they are both ‘feet-on-the-ground good guys’. Oops, sorry, I gotta now change that to one good guy and one good lady.
So it’s a huge congratulations to Gerber on this giant move. FleetWatch wishes you all the best of luck and success as you head off on your new path. And our best wishes also go to Dietz as he takes on his new mammoth task. The glass ceiling in the OEM arena has been solidly shattered.