On the eve of breaking ground for a new headquarters, DaimlerChrysler Financial Services changed its president and CEO.

It's a move accompanying a top-level realignment in financial services, service and parts operations and corporate finance and controlling.

Reassigned to a new post as senior vice president of service and parts is 34-year Chrysler veteran Darrell L. Davis, who in 1996 was named president of then-Chrysler Financial Corp.

Replacing Mr. Davis at the helm of DaimlerChrysler Financial Services is Juergen Walker, a 24-year Daimler-Benz veteran who became senior vice-president and controller of DaimlerChrysler AG shortly after the merger of the two automakers was announced in February, 1999.

Mr. Davis, 61, well-known to Chrysler dealers during 16 sales staff postings throughout the U.S. and at central headquarters, oversaw the design for the new headquarters building, which will be located in Auburn Hills, MI, near the Chrysler world headquarters structure. The official groundbreaking for the financial services building is this month.

Appointment of Mr. Davis to vice president in charge of the new service and parts group marks a combination of the two functions. The job of vice president for MOPAR parts division is being eliminated with the planned retirement at year-end of incumbent Lawrence W. Baker.

Mr. Walker, 51 on Oct. 29, is being succeeded as senior vice president and controller of the Chrysler operations by a former occupant of that position, James D. Donlon.

Mr. Donlon was transferred back to his old assignment from DaimlerChrysler headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, where he had been the highest-ranked American executive since early 1999. His return to Auburn Hills is seen as a signal that the Chrysler arm of DC is looking to cut costs in the face of soft sales.

Mr. Davis, who reports to Theodor R. Cunningham, executive vice president of sales and marketing for DC in North America, was the third of the Big Three financial-services CEOs to be involved in a major change in duties this year.

Ford Credit appointed Donald A. Winkler as chairman and CEO in January, succeeding Philippe Paillart.

John D. Finnegan, GMAC chairman and CEO, added the duty of acting chief financial officer of parent GM Sept. 1 with the retirement of J. Michael Losh.