Annette Winkler – Keynote Speaker

Top Female European CEO

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Annette Winkler Profile Picture

Specialist Subjects

  • Leadership
  • Strategy
  • Innovation
  • Sustainability


  • German


German-born Annette Winkler is CEO of Smart cars, and one of the three highest-ranking women in the Daimler Group. Her appointment in 2010 signified a major shift in the male-dominated auto industry.

Winkler is a single-minded manager, and her team have impressively used pioneering technologies and innovative mobility ideas, to increase energy efficiency for the future design of the smart concept car. Under her leadership, existing models have been upgraded with interesting equipment options, marketing activities have increased, and the e-bike has been created.

In 1995, Annette Winkler began her career with Daimler when she was appointed Head of Public Relations and Communications with Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart. Moving up through the ranks, she became CEO of DaimlerChrysler in Brussels, then VP of Global Business Management & Wholesale Europe in 2006, and finally CEO of smart in 2010.

Earlier in her career, at 27 years old, having completed a PhD in Business Administration, and a thesis on corporate valuation and jurisdiction, Winkler took over the sole management of her father’s construction company, another non-traditional industry for a woman in management. She modernised the operation, making it profitable, and in 1992 was elected by the jury of the champagne house Veuve Clicquot as German Entrepreneur of the Year.

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