Mercedes-Benz USA's longtime marketing boss and onetime interim CEO Drew Slaven has left the company.
In a memo to the brand's dealers reviewed by Automotive News, Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dimitris Psillakis said the chief marketing officer had decided to retire.
"After some extensive thought and in consultation with his family and colleagues at MBUSA, [Slaven] has made the decision to retire," Psillakis said in the memo, dated Jan. 31. "We will inform you about our succession plans in due time."
A source briefed on the matter told Automotive News that Slaven, one of the more tenured company officers, had been at "loggerheads" with leadership. Slaven did not attend Mercedes' make meeting at the NADA show last month.
Slaven, 56, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment through his LinkedIn account.
Whether Slaven walked or was nudged, it's unlikely the marketing executive is finished with Madison Avenue.
A company source told Automotive News that Slaven has another job lined up but declined to discuss the details.
Slaven joined Mercedes-Benz USA in 2002 as department manager of national advertising and brand strategy. During his tenure, Slaven held roles in brand experience marketing, CRM (customer relationship management) marketing, digital and other functions.
Notably, Slaven handled the financial and legal negotiations in buying the naming rights to Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons NFL franchise. In the memo, Psillakis referred to the deal as the "company's largest-ever marketing endeavor."
The loss of Slaven's institutional knowledge is a blow to Mercedes, said a West Coast dealer, who requested he not be identified.
"He was loyal to Mercedes first and foremost, but also a genuine guy you could talk to," the dealer said. "He cared about dealers and was transparent."