BMW China CEO to step down at the beginning of next year, report says image

BMW China president and CEO Christoph Stark will officially announce his retirement this weekend, according to Economic Observer News.

The weekly newspaper quoted internal sources according to which Christoph Stark will continue to assume his post until the beginning of next year, when his replacement will be announced.

BMW is the latest of the German automakers in China to announce changes to its management teams, after Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz. 59-year old Christoph Stark originally planned to leave BMW at the end of 2013, but he announced his retirement ahead of schedule due to personal reasons.

Mr. Stark, who speaks fluent Chinese and knows very well the local market, initiated a series of pricing and sales strategies that helped BMW’s sales grow from under 20,000 units to 300,000 in eight years time.

Christoph Stark is also credited with the success of BMW’s Chinese production program. Currently BMW and its Chinese partner Brilliance Automotive manufacture up to 300,000 vehicles and 400,000 engines every year in China.

BMW hasn’t yet announced Stark’s successor, but according to media predictions, BMW China’s next CEO will come from the carmaker’s German headquarters, due to the increasing importance of the Chinese market for the company.