BMW to Hire Audi’s Former Sales Chief image

According to an anonymous source, BMW plans to hire former Audi AG sales chief, Peter Schwarzenbauer, part of its plan to strengthen its place as the leader of the premium segment.

The official announcement is expected in April, when Schwarzenbauer will most likely take a top-level management position and will report directly to CEO Norbert Reithofer. The anonymous source said that BMW might discuss the appointment tomorrow, March 14th, while company’s cpokesman Bill McAndrews said BMW doesn’t comment on ‘personnel speculation.’

It’s been a tough competition between BMW and Audi for the top sales spot in the premium auto segment, with BMW securing its lead with 407 units for the first two months of the year. Schwarzenbauer, who has been for more than four years Audi’s sales chief, managed to increase the automaker’s US presence, gained market share in Europe and boost sales in China. In 2008, during his first year as Audi’s sales chief, the automaker managed to cross the threshold of 1 million sales.

“He’s certainly a distinguished guy and lots speaks for his talent,” said Juergen Pieper, an analyst with Bankhaus Metzler in Frankfurt who recommends selling BMW shares. “Audi was riding a growth wave” during his tenure as sales chief.