Mercedes Fills Marketing Post

NEW YORK Mercedes-Benz USA has named Steve Cannon, a principal at The Richards Group who held several posts at Mercedes early in his career, to fill the vp, marketing position Mark McNabb vacated in January.

Cannon, who becomes the company’s fifth marketing chief in eight years, will oversee marketing communications, market research and product management for Mercedes and sister brand Maybach in the U.S., Mercedes said. He starts June 25 and will report to president and CEO Ernst Lieb.

Omnicom Group’s Merkley + Partners here is Mercedes’ lead creative agency in the U.S. Omnicom shops, including PHD (media buying), Rapp Collins (direct marketing) and Footsteps (African-American oriented ads), handle most of the company’s other marketing services.

The company last year spent more than $200 million in domestic major measured media, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Cannon, 46, spent five years at Richards in Dallas, where he managed dealer ad efforts for then client Hyundai Motor America. Richards, an independent shop, handled both factory and dealer ads for Hyundai from 2002 until this year, when the client launched a review and shifted the estimated $600 million account to Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco.

Cannon’s first taste of auto work came in 1991, when he was executive assistant to Erich Krampe, then president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz of North America.

Subsequently, he shifted to Mercedes’ global headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, to help launch the M-Class line of sports utility vehicles. And from 1998 until 2000, Cannon was director of marketing for the carmaker’s Debis Financial Services division.

McNabb left the vp, marketing post after about a year to become vp, sales at Mercedes, only to leave in March to lead the global business operation of Nissan’s Infiniti.