Daimler Trucks North America picks O’Leary to succeed Nielsen as president and CEO

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John OLeary
John O’Leary has been appointed president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America. He will succeed current president and CEO Roger Nielsen, who will retire April 30, 2021. (Courtesy: DTNA)

PORTLAND, Ore., and STUTTGART, Germany — The board of management of Daimler Truck AG has appointed John O’Leary, 60, as the next president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), effective April 1, 2021, the company announced Feb. 16. DTNA brands include Freightliner Trucks, Western Star Trucks, Thomas Built Buses, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. and Detroit Diesel Corp.

According to a prepared company statement, O’Leary started at DTNA with Freightliner in 2000. After establishing internal transformation-processes, he led the U.S. school bus business as president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses. In 2010, O´Leary became the senior vice president for the company’s aftermarket business before becoming CFO of DTNA in 2012, serving under then-president Martin Daum (2009-2017) and Roger Nielsen (2017 to 2020). Since September 2020, O’Leary has served as chief transformation officer for Mercedes-Benz Trucks in Germany. In this role, he also led the Mercedes-Benz Truck organization until Karin Radström took over the position in February 2021.

“John O’Leary has more than 20 years of experience at DTNA and knows the North American commercial vehicle business like no other,” said Martin Daum, president and CEO of Daimler Truck AG and member of the board of management for Daimler AG. “As CFO of DTNA, and lately as chief transformation officer of Mercedes-Benz Trucks, he has proven that his experience and knowledge make him just the right person to successfully lead DTNA into the future.”

Roger Nielsen
Roger Nielson has been with Daimler for 35 years, serving as president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America for the past four years. (Courtesy: DTNA)

O’Leary follows DTNA’s Roger Nielsen, 60, who will retire April 30, 2021, after 35 years in the company, the last four years as its president and CEO. Under Nielsen’s leadership, DTNA started several customer trials with the Freightliner eCascadia and eM2 and launched the Thomas Built Buses Jouley school bus to pave the way to CO2-neutral transport at DTNA. In addition, Nielsen renewed the Western Star product lineup and the vocational truck business and made DTNA the most successful truck OEM in the U.S.

“I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Roger Nielsen for his dedication to the success of DTNA and his successful positioning of our brands Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses,” Daum said. “Besides his passion for our business and unprecedented customer orientation, he is the embodiment of responsible people leadership.”

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