BMW promotes European executives to US unit image

Two European executives were appointed to key roles within BMW’s American unit as the company reshuffles its senior management to counter Mercedes-Benz, which aims to topple the Munich automaker as the market’s luxury leader.

J. Chris Koenders, 49, a Dutch national, will be responsible for all BMW sales operations within the U.S. Before he was president of BMW Group Netherlands since 2010 and will succeed Peter Miles as executive vice president of the automaker’s North American operations. Koenders has worked for BMW for more than 20 years.

“Under his leadership, BMW in the Netherlands achieved the number one position in the premium segment for the first time since 1983,” BMW said in a statement.

Petter Witt, 39, who is currently managing director of BMW Sweden, will head BMW’s operations for its western region in the the United States, succeeding David Duncan, who will become vice president of Mini operations in the Americas. Duncan succeeds Jim McDowell, who is retiring. Witt, a Swedish national, has 13 years of automotive experience with the BMW in the U.S., Germany and Sweden.

BMW of America CEO Ludwig Willisch said the company is intensifying its “customer-driven focus” with the changes, which will be effective Jan. 1.

Via Automotive News Europe