Smart CEO To Step Down After Revitalising Brand

Tue 29th May 2018

Daimler’s small car brand, Smart, is to get a new Chief Executive after it was announced that Annette Winkler will step down from her role later this year.

Winkler is credited with revitalising the brand following a downturn in sales, and is praised for bringing in Smart’s electric era, with the car now being pitched as a ‘fully electric urban mobility brand’.

Dieter Zetsche, head of Daimler, said: “As a true entrepreneurial personality, she has led Smart to new successes and systematically transformed it into an electric mobility brand. Under Annette Winkler’s leadership, the smart plant in Hambach has continually improved its competitiveness and is extremely well positioned for the future.”

Smart’s sales in the UK had slumped to 5044 units in 2011, and dropped even further to 4342 by 2014, but by 2016 they surged to 12,020 and Winkler is happy to be handing over a brand on the up.

She said: “One of the key responsibilities of every executive is to pass on leading positions to the next generation at the right time. And that time has now come — with the clear focus of smart as a fully electric urban mobility brand and with the decision to develop the Hambach facility into a plant for fully electric vehicles within the Mercedes-Benz production network.”

Winkler joined Dainler in 1995 as head of PR and Communications for Mercedes-Benz and will remain as a board member, working for Mercedes South Africa.