BMW today announced that Harald Krueger will be the company’s next chief executive officer, replacing Norbert Reithofer who’s been CEO since 2006.
Krueger, 49, is the head of production at BMW. Reithofer is standing to succeed Joachim Milberg, 71, as chairman of BMW’s supervisory board.
Although Reithofer’s contract doesn’t end until 2016, analysts have welcomed the early announcement saying it provides greater clarity over future strategy. BMW calls it 'a generational change at the head of the board of management.'
The first jobs in Krueger’s in-tray as CEO
BMW is in strong health, most analysts agree, with sales due to reach around 2 million vehicles this year, across its BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brands.
But Krueger still has some pressing issues to deal with as he takes up the reins at BMW:
• Keep the bread-and-butter cars selling strongly as the range diversifies
• What’s next for Project i? Can electrification be rolled out range-wide?
• Keep the styling more consistent and desirable
• Juggle the twin demands of enthusiasts and mainstream consumers
• What’s next for Mini and Rolls-Royce?
• Can collaborations such as the sports car project with Toyota bear fruit?
Krueger starts as BMW CEO on 13 May 2015, at the end of the company’s AGM. His experience in building cars - the heart of any volume vehicle manufacturer - will stand him in good stead to deal with the commercial decisions ahead.
He joined BMW in 1992 as a qualified engineer and rose up through the ranks; identified as a rising star, he was sent to work in other parts of the business, including HR, aftersales and factory production. He has served on the board since 2008.
BWM appoints new tech boss too
The musical chairs continue, as VW has poached Herbert Diess, BMW’s head of research and development, to lead the Volkswagen brand team.
He’ll be replaced by 54-year-old Klaus Froehlich with immediate effect, Munich confirmed today. The new R&D chief is a BMW lifer, having worked at the company since 1987.