Mercedes-Benz UK's network operations director Angela Shepherd has been appointed chief executive of its manufacturer-owned dealer business, Mercedes-Benz Retail Group.
Shepherd, who has long experience with the Mercedes-Benz brand, has spent the last five years in her current post, responsible for ensuring the UK dealer network could handle Mercedes' rising sales volumes and remain profitable.
Having come up the ranks at Mercedes through dealer operations, aftersales, training and network strategy, Shepherd becomes only the third female leader of an AM100 franchised dealer group.
Her task will include ensuring the motor retailer continues to improve profitability and adjust to the changes in consumer behaviour and new market trends.
Shepherd said: "Having been involved in sales and aftersales, worked closely with dealers and held key leadership positions within the Mercedes-Benz brand, I’m fortunate to have gained a very broad, helicopter view of how retailers operate.
“My extensive contact with customer service will also help as we strive to make our London retailers the destination of choice for Mercedes-Benz customers.”
In 2016 she was recognised by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and Autocar in a list of the top 100 British women working in the automotive industry, and Mercedes-Benz UK's group chief executive Gary Savage described her as "unanimously admired" for the way she conducts business.
In 2016 Daimler sold Mercedes-Benz Retail Group's market areas in Birmingham and Manchester to Hong Kong-based international retailer Lei Shing Hong.
The sale left Mercedes-Benz Retail Group with dealerships within Greater London, overseen by Vittorio Braguglia, who stepped down as chief executive this month.
The AM100 top 20 dealer group achieved £1.1 billion revenues in 2018 but made a £29 million loss in "another challenging year for MBRG", according to its Companies House accounts.
That result drove an "organisational restructuring" at the business in the same year, and its board was confident of improvements in 2019.
Shepherd said that between 2020 and 2022 a wave of Mercedes-Benz EQ models will bring electric options to every segment in addition to a variety of hybrids, and these present very exciting opportunities for the dealer group's 18 dealerships in and around London, in providing emission-free mobility to customers.
“We are ready for the range expansion next year and the expected momentum generated within the London market from retail and corporate customers,” she added.
“We’re also gearing up for the anticipated increase in online contact from customers, so we can continue to deliver an outstanding experience ensuring customers will remain loyal to us for many years to come.”
Shepherd said: “Although I’ve always worked within the manufacturer, I couldn’t imagine not being involved with retailers on a daily basis so this opportunity was just too good to refuse.
"With the new showroom architecture, new products and changing consumer demands, we have the chance to shape a business and prepare it for the challenges ahead with a team that performs to the highest level and is proud to work for the Mercedes-Benz Retail Group under the Daimler umbrella.”