Daniel Deparis has been responsible for "Urban Mobility Solutions" at Mercedes-Benz AG for over a year. This is where he brings together specialist departments at the Mercedes-Benz Group that concern themselves with urban mobility, so as to jointly exchange information and views with cities and municipalities. In a personal conversation, French-born Daniel Deparis tells us about his career to date and what colors have to do with his work.
Bonjour Monsieur Deparis! Please tell us how you came to join Mercedes-Benz.
Salut! My first position was as an intern at Global Services and Parts in Stuttgart, at Mercedes-Benz in 1999. Right from the first day I felt I belonged, and developed a great loyalty to the Mercedes star. This was partly because of my interesting tasks – I had a very exciting project in Belgium - and partly because of my colleagues, who always congratulated me dutifully when France won a soccer match [laughs].
And when your internship ended, you were offered a job.
That was a childhood dream come true! Even as a small boy, I constantly told my parents that I would work in the automotive sector in Germany one day. And now I had the great good fortune to start working in marketing at Global Services & Parts. I will never forget the day when I was handed my employment contract.
Over the years you could lead team there, and later moved to smart where you managed the topic "Business Development" and developed the "smart ready to services". Among other things you founded the "smart lab".
Yes, all in all I've always held positions for a relatively long time. I'm certainly not a "job-hopper". Let me use colors to illustrate this: I like it when a job starts in – let's say – blue and I have time to develop it into a different color. So that at the end, it's not the same job as at the beginning. That's what I find wonderful about our company: you are given freedom of movement; changing the colors is allowed and made possible! What I also value greatly is the passion shown by my colleagues. During my career I have been privileged to know many role models, and I've gained a great deal from their enthusiastic working approach.
Tell us what your present "Urban Mobility Solutions" team does at Mercedes-Benz.
Our aim is to closely network all the forces in our large corporation that concern themselves with urban mobility – i.e. in research, development, marketing and external affairs. The time has now come for us to adapt all of the products, hardware, software and services to the needs of the cities. We can only do this by uniting our efforts, which we consolidate in our Urban Mobility team.
You not only consolidate expertise and energy within the Group, but also specifically approach cities and municipalities, right?
Correct, just as the digital world refers to "Customer Centricity", we are aiming at "Citizen Centricity". Everything we plan and implement with cities is with the citizens in mind.
What aspects do you jointly pursue with cities?
Almost always these three topic areas: safety, transport efficiency and access to mobility for everyone. The last aspect is particularly exciting, because it involves changes in behavior. We ask ourselves: How can we initiate these changes? As Urban Mobility Solutions we want to accompany cities and citizens through the mobility transformation. And discuss the best potential solutions with them.
A personal question to round off: It's 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday. Where can you usually be found?
I've probably just purchased a Swabian baguette and am cycling back home [laughs].
Daniel Deparis, 45 years old, married and father of two daughters aged 10 and 8, studied business administration in Lille in France. In 1998, after a dual course of study, he attended a guest semester studying international commerce at the vocational college in Reutlingen (Germany) and applied for positions in the automotive sector. Two days before he was due to start a trainee program in Hesse (Germany), he received confirmation for a six-month internship at GSP Mercedes. Daniel decided against a fast career and opted for the Mercedes star. "I haven't regretted a single day," he says.