Tuesday was the day of surprise top-executive changes – after Volkswagen AG announced that BMW’s research and development chief Herbert Diess would become the Chairman of the namesake passenger car brand, the luxury automaker BMW also said its CEO would step down earlier than planned.
Having a new top management position in VW’s management board to take away from the group’s CEO Martin Winterkorn the burden of leading as well the core car brand was a logical step. Volkswagen has not been doing so great lately, impacted by falling earnings margins and serious sales fallings in regions such as the Americas – and the Group now aims to turn the tide around with the help of the brand’s new boss.
On the other side, BMW – the largest luxury automaker in the world – is expected to hold on to its title this year, even though the company management has repeatedly said it’s not focusing on sales anymore – but on the more important profit returns from the deliveries. Now, the veteran leader of the Munich-based premium carmaker, Norbert Reithofer, would step down a year earlier than planned – in May of 2015 instead of the previous time frame for 2016. He was the CEO since 2006, but now the younger Harald Krueger, 49, previously the company’s production chief – would take the reign. He is going to be one of the youngest chief executives of any global automaker.