Arthur Blank had to look only as far as one of his new corporate partners to find the man to run his businesses.
Blank, the Home Depot co-founder and Jewish Atlanta philanthropist, on Monday, Dec. 21, named Mercedes-Benz USA CEO and President Stephen Cannon as the CEO of AMB Group, the corporate parent of Blank’s for-profit businesses. Cannon will take over day-to-day operations Feb. 1.
Blank will remain chairman and owner and will work with Cannon on overall strategy for his businesses.
Cannon will be in charge of the business operations of the Atlanta Falcons; the new Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer; PGA Tour Superstore; Mountain Sky Guest Ranch; and the Atlanta Falcons Stadium Co., which is developing Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the retractable-dome stadium scheduled to open for the 2017 NFL season.
That means Cannon will run the stadium whose naming rights he purchased this year in his role as Mercedes-Benz CEO.
Cannon said the move represents a special opportunity. “I made an immediate connection with Arthur because we have very similar value systems and a shared vision for what the customer experience can and should be. I look forward to working closely with the leaders within AMB Group and across the individual businesses to drive growth and deliver even greater value to the fans, customers, partners and communities that we serve.”
Blank will keep control of the football operations of the Falcons, having Coach Dan Quinn and General Manager Thomas Dimitroff report directly to him, according to the announcement from AMB Group. Blank also will maintain oversight of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, the AMB Group’s finance and investments department, and the family office administrative staff.
Cannon, a West Point graduate, has been the CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA since 2012 and has overseen the move of the corporate headquarters from New Jersey to Sandy Springs.
“Steve is a dynamic leader with a value system and ethic that aligns very well with mine, which is important to ensuring our culture and values continue to thrive in a fast-paced, growing environment,” Blank said. “He is a proven, results-driven executive who understands how to build and deliver a premium customer experience. That, along with his high-energy approach and experience will translate very well to all of our businesses. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have a leader of Steve’s stature take on this very important role moving forward.”
Blank, 73, said Cannon’s hiring will allow him to focus more on philanthropy and family while serving as “most senior cheerleader.”