Joe Eberhardt, Chrysler's top sales executive, will leave the company to run his own Mercedes-Benz dealership, DaimlerChrysler AG said Tuesday.
Eberhardt, the Chrysler Group's executive vice president of global sales, marketing and service, made the decision to leave the company and is negotiating for his own dealership, Chrysler spokesman Jason Vines said.
Eberhardt "brought a much-needed discipline to our sales, marketing and service organizations when he arrived in the summer of 2003," Chrysler Group Chief Executive Officer Tom LaSorda said in a statement. "Being back in the retail world is something he has talked about for some time now, and having a proven track record in that arena makes it a natural."
Chrysler's sales, marketing, international and service senior vice presidents and vice presidents will report to LaSorda until further notice, the company said.
Through the first 11 months of the year, Chrysler Group's sales were 5.9 percent lower than the same period last year as consumers shifted away from trucks and sport utility vehicles to more fuel-efficient models.
Chrysler has been rolling out new vehicles, including cars and small SUVs, to meet changing consumer demands.
Eberhardt joined Mercedes-Benz in Germany in 1982 as a work-study student. In the early 1990s, he became general manager of Mercedes-Benz Manhattan. He later returned to Mercedes-Benz and went on to the Chrysler Group.
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