PORTLAND, Ore. – Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) announced Tuesday that David Carson, president of Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC), has been appointed president of Western Star Trucks and chief diversity officer of DTNA. Carson succeeds Kelley Platt, who has been promoted within the Daimler AG global organization to president and chief executive officer of Daimler’s truck joint venture Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive Co. Ltd. in China.
“While we will miss Kelley’s leadership and her significant contributions as a member of the Daimler Trucks North America Operating Committee, we are confident that David’s dedication and proven track record as a leader position him well as the new leader of Western Star as we look to the future for the vocational truck brand,” said Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America.
In his role leading the Western Star team and the strategic direction for the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, Carson will become a member of the company’s operating committee. Carson was appointed president of FCCC in 2015, where he oversaw engineering, operations, and sales and marketing for DTNA’s chassis business.
Under his leadership, FCCC continued its development of product offerings and enhancements in the school bus, RV and walk-in van segments, leading to record performance in 2016. He also led efforts to invest in and expand on the brand’s operations, including construction of a new logistics center and chassis loading facility.
Carson has served in a variety of leadership roles, most recently as the company’s general manager of human resources, responsible for all human resource matters, including negotiations with labor unions. Prior to joining DTNA in 2001, Carson built extensive experience leading operations for an industry-leading automotive supplier and a global technology company.
Carson earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in industrial relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In Platt’s new role as president and CEO of Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive Co. Ltd., she will report to Sven Ennerst, truck board member for procurement, research and development, and also newly appointed for China.
“Kelley's leadership and dedication to our customers and to continuously improve will continue to be integrated into our company as we move forward,” Nielsen said. “We wish her the best of luck in China where she will bring a wealth of experience with her.”
Under Platt’s leadership, Western Star has set sales and market share records. From 2010 to 2015, Platt served as the president and CEO of Thomas Built Buses (TBB) in High Point, North Carolina. While she was there, TBB attained leadership of the North American school bus market. During her stint at TBB, Platt was the recipient of the Manufacturing Institute's prestigious STEP Award, recognizing outstanding women in the manufacturing industry who exemplify leadership within their companies.
Platt started at Daimler in 1989 as a manager in the treasury department. She founded the Business Excellence Group in 2006, and has been a strong advocate of diversity and inclusion both for DTNA and on the larger global Daimler landscape.
Platt holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Colby College and a master’s of business degree in operations and finance from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.