A company with the scope of Daimler Trucks North America demands a leadership team with global expertise in all areas of the business. Finance, technology, marketing, human resources and more are all accounted for with the most qualified and experienced people at the helm. Their guidance, however, would mean nothing without the dedicated team of individuals motivated to reach their goals.
Effective April 1, 2017, Roger Nielsen has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Daimler Trucks North America and its affiliated companies Freightliner Trucks, Western Star Trucks, Thomas Built Buses, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation and Detroit Diesel Corporation.
Since 2001, Roger Nielsen has been Chief Operating Officer responsible for the entire DTNA manufacturing network, as well as all levels of operations in quality, supplier management, logistics, and customer application engineering. In addition, he has overseen Thomas Built Buses, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation and DTNA’s continuous improvement programs. In 1986, Mr. Nielsen joined DTNA (then Freightliner Corporation) as an Industrial Engineer and since then has held various positions at DTNA in the U.S. as well as at Daimler’s Commercial Vehicles Divisions in Germany.
As Senior Vice President of Engineering and Technology, Dr. Wilfried Achenbach is responsible for all DTNA engineering activities for Freightliner and Western Star models. He oversees product and custom engineering, which consist of design, test, styling, analysis, compliance and planning functions.
Prior to joining the company in October 2010, Dr. Achenbach was responsible for Mechatronics Systems for Daimler AG in Stuttgart, Germany, focusing on electrical and electronics development for the next generation of European trucks. Concurrently, he led the mechatronics group within the global Daimler Trucks development organization.
Prior to moving to Daimler Trucks, Dr. Achenbach held various positions within the passenger car division, focused on driving dynamics and driver assistance, also spending several years in a senior executive position at Chrysler.
At the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, Dr. Achenbach earned a Diploma in Physics and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics. In 1987, he joined Daimler AG’s passenger car division as a System Engineer in Advanced Development.
As senior vice president of Production, Quality, and Specialty Vehicles, Jeff Allen oversees the company’s manufacturing network, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation, and Thomas Built Buses. Allen’s expertise at Daimler Trucks encompasses over twenty years of leadership and operational responsibility.
Previously, as vice president of operations at Detroit Diesel Corporation (DDC) in Redford, Michigan, Allen led all facets of the Detroit operation, including management of Detroit’s Powertrain Headquarters in Michigan and Detroit’s Axle Plant in Saltillo, Mexico. He has also served as vice president of operations for Thomas Built Buses in Highpoint, NC, and as director of assembly in Detroit. He started his career at DDC in 1992 working as a Business Unit Manager before accepting an assignment in Brazil with Detroit Diesel Motores do Brazil in 1997.
Jeff will be located in Fort Mill, South Carolina in close proximity to the majority of Daimler Truck’s U.S. manufacturing operations.
As General Manager of Human Resources, Eileen Frack leads all human resource management and labor relations activities for DTNA. Ms. Frack’s role includes providing leadership on policy development and implementation in the areas of talent management and acquisition, employee, organizational and management development, compensation, benefits, industrial relations, and health and safety programs.
Ms. Frack began her career with Daimler in 2005 as Director of the Office of Tax Affairs and International Trade Compliance. As an inaugural member of the first Diversity Steering Committee and after leading numerous cross-functional projects, in 2010 she became Director of Executive Management Development.
Ms. Frack has over 20 years of experience in financial and leadership development, including experience at NIKE and Kimberly-Clark. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Oregon State University.
As Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Richard Howard is responsible for the development of sales and marketing for Freightliner Trucks, the Detroit Components brand of on-highway engines, axles, transmissions, and DTNA’s proprietary components sales. He also oversees DTNA’s used truck operations and export sales.
Previously, as President and CEO of Daimler Financial Services, Africa and Asia Pacific, Mr. Howard was a member of the Daimler Financial Services AG Board of Management. Over a 20-year period, Howard built his career through the ranks of the Daimler Financial Services organization for both the Mercedes-Benz passenger cars and commercial trucks divisions. His assignments included working in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Latin America, South Africa and Asia.
Prior to joining the company in 1993, Mr. Howard held several positions at companies in the United Kingdom, where he graduated from Aston University with a Master’s degree in Business Administration.
With 25 years of distinguished global experience with Daimler, Senior Vice President of Aftermarket Stefan Kurschner has held a variety of management positions for the company, including in Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, and the USA. In his new role, Kurschner leads the company’s aftermarket functions, including central service, parts sales & marketing, parts distribution, dealer operations, and remanufacturing.
Previously, as president and CEO of Daimler Vehículos Comerciales Mexico, Kurschner led dramatic growth, including positioning the company as the undisputed market leader, rebuilding the dealer network, and driving significant culture change. Prior to that, he served as president of Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing LLC.
Kurschner graduated from the University of Mannheim in international management and logistics. He will be located at the company’s headquarters in Portland, Oregon.
As Chief Financial Officer, John O’Leary directs operative and strategic controlling, treasury, accounting, and tax functions for DTNA and its affiliated companies.
Previously, Mr. O’Leary was Senior Vice President of Aftermarket, with responsibility for support of all DTNA brands in the aftermarket, including parts sales and distribution, service, dealer network development and Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing. This role also involved oversight and development of DTNA’s Aftermarket Service Products, including extended chassis and engine warranties, telematics and contract maintenance.
Prior to January 2010, Mr. O’Leary served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Thomas Built Buses, where he oversaw sales, marketing, service, dealer operations, product planning, engineering and manufacturing functions for the world’s leading school bus company.
Mr. O’Leary has over 25 years of experience in a wide variety of financial roles for truck manufacturers and a high-tech electronics manufacturer. Mr. O’Leary earned his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting at Seattle University and completed the Executive Development Program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
In her role as the president of Western Star Trucks and the company's Chief Diversity Officer (CDO), Kelley Platt is responsible for executive oversight of Western Star Trucks, including sales, marketing, and the truck manufacturing plant in Portland, Oregon. With over 20,000 employees in North America, DTNA employs people from all walks of life. In her role as CDIO, Ms. Platt ensures alignment of diversity and inclusion strategies with organizational goals.
Ms. Platt joined Daimler Trucks North America in October 1989 as the Manager of Treasury Services. In 1997, she was promoted to Treasurer, responsible for cash and investment management, foreign exchange, and insurance. In 1998, she played a pivotal role in the company’s acquisition of Thomas Built Buses. In 2002, Ms. Platt added Tax and Customs responsibilities to her portfolio. In October of 2006, she was named the General Manager of Business Excellence with responsibility for the DTNA scorecard, TOS Indirect and Six Sigma. The introduction of the Truck Operating System to our indirect areas has served as a bench mark for the Daimler Truck Group. Ms. Platt was named President and CEO of Thomas Built Buses January 1, 2010 where she focused on increasing the company’s environmentally-friendly product line, growing its school bus business and enhancing aftermarket service and support.
Prior to joining DTNA, Ms. Platt was in commercial banking in Portland, Oregon and New York.
Ms. Platt has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Colby College and a Masters of Business Administration from Duke University.