BMW promotes production chief Oliver Zipse to CEO role
The BMW Group, responsible for the BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brands, on Thursday named Oliver Zipse as its new CEO.
Zipse replaces Harald Krueger who earlier this month announced his resignation, just four years after taking the top job.
The 55-year-old started at BMW in 1991 as a trainee and has since held various management positions, most recently as head of production. Another candidate for the role was R&D chief Klaus Froehlich.
Zipse is thought to have impressed the board due to his performance during both the Brexit vote and the more recent Trump administration’s threats of tariffs on Mexican products. BMW has plants in the United Kingdom and Mexico and in both instances Zipse was unwavering on the decision to maintain both sites.
In a statement, BMW Chairman Norbert Reithofer described Zipse as a “decisive strategic” and an “analytical leader.” Reithofer also provided some potential insight into dealings in the boardroom with his comment that Zipse will provide “fresh momentum in shaping the mobility of the future.”
While Krueger resigned, it’s rumored his contract was not up for renewal. In the years that he ran the company, BMW lost its top sales position in the luxury segment to German rival Daimler. Furthermore, BMW failed to capitalize on its early lead in the EV segment and is now behind rivals. Although BMW launched the i3 electric hatch for 2014, the automaker’s first EV since then is the Mini Cooper SE, which arrives for 2020 and whose range is far shorter than existing offerings.
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