The BMW Group – the largest luxury automaker in the world – made a surprise move this week and announced that long running chief executive Norbert Reithofer would step down in May, getting replaced by 49-year-old Harald Krueger.
Bringing the youngest CEO of a major carmaker signals a deep change at the management playing field for BMW, which strives to remain competitive and rule the premium segment – just as its main rivals Audi and Mercedes swear they would overtake it sooner than expected. Krueger started his career with the company almost directly out of the Aachen University, Germany’s top-ranked graduate engineering school. Krueger has a reputation for “looking beyond the usual production and engineering topics,” comments Arndt Ellinghorst, a London-based analyst at Evercore ISI.
Stefan Quandt, deputy supervisory board chairman and a member of the billionaire family that owns around 47% of the company’s shares, said that the top management change – coming almost a year earlier than planned – is the carmaker’s response to the underlying changes of the global auto industry – as the automakers now need more “creative energy,” from the younger generation. Krueger comes after a very successful CEO, who reigned at BMW from 2006 and led the automaker to record sales and profits every year – and he also orchestrated a deep strategic change towards more environmentally friendly vehicles.
Via Automotive News Europe