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      07-05-2019, 11:33 AM   #1
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Oliver Zipse is the new BMW CEO

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Update July 18, 2019:

BMW has announced that Oliver Zipse will formally assume the role of Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG effective August 16, 2019. The company’s Supervisory Board made this decision today during its meeting in Spartanburg, South Carolina (USA). Zipse will succeed Harald Krüger, who informed the Chairman of the Supervisory Board at the beginning of July that he would not seek a second term of office. Krüger will resign as Chairman and will leave the Board of Management by mutual agreement on 15 August 2019.

Here's why Oliver Zipse emerged as the new BMW CEO, according to Bloomberg:

MUNICH -- At BMW AG’s annual presentation results in March, head of production Oliver Zipse was unfazed by Brexit -- then looming just nine days later -- and the future of the carmaker’s iconic Mini model, unlike industry peers.

Things would have to get a great deal worse than the tariffs anticipated by the company to challenge BMW’s U.K. production sites, he said.

It’s the kind of steeliness and conviction, also revealed when quizzed about U.S. President Donald Trump plans to hit Mexico with tariffs just as BMW built a plant there, that probably got Zipse BMW’s top job. Often speaking with a half smile, the 55-year-old BMW lifer is taking over the world’s second-biggest luxury carmaker to reinject momentum into a company that’s gone from being a leader in the transition to electric cars to a company searching for direction.

Zipse’s confidence and powers of persuasion, evident from his patient explanations with painstaking detail to reporters, will be in demand after predecessor Harald Krueger’s wavering on big decisions produced unhelpful divisions on BMW’s management board.

Zipse inherits a company with the building blocks to craft a future as the automotive rule book is being rewritten. Under Krueger -- and Zipse as head of production -- BMW started a record product rollout designed to deliver the profits necessary to pay for the electric and self-driving revolution, to make models such as the X7 crossover and sporty 8-series coupe.

“A lot is on the table,” Credit Suisse analyst Daniel Schwarz said in a note. “Despite this, it looks like a good time to become CEO. BMW generates cash flow despite trough margins.”

Trade tensions and slowing markets have capped the results of that effort, but BMW’s sales this year are still leading rivals, gaining 1.6 percent during the first half, compared with declines of 4.6 percent at Mercedes-Benz and 5.8 percent at Audi. Zipse will succeed 53-year-old Krueger, who’s stepped down after just one four-year term following struggles to set a course for the German luxury-car maker, on Aug. 16, BMW said Thursday in a statement.

“With Oliver Zipse, a decisive strategic and analytical leader will” become CEO, Chairman Norbert Reithofer said. “He will provide the BMW Group with fresh momentum in shaping the mobility of the future.”

Traditional track

BMW is continuing a tradition of plucking leaders well-versed in the detailed interplay required to assemble premium cars at scale. Reithofer, a former CEO, also served as production chief, as has Krueger.

The question is whether the skills needed to run high-precision manufacturing operations will translate into nailing changing technology and customer habits in a company built around autobahn driving thrills.

Zipse has kept a low public profile and is not well known outside of BMW, but his elevation to CEO appears to be a prudent move by the automaker, Evercore said in a research note. “BMW opts for stability and continuity by nominating a well proven member of its management team. In a hugely volatile and unpredictable world, this might be a wise decision,” it said.

While churning out like clockwork ever-new models like the X2 and X7 crossovers, the company has been more tentative with electric vehicles. It squandered a head-start marked by the 2013 introduction of the i3, a plug-in model built on an innovative carbon-fiber frame. Its next battery-powered cars will be variants of the Mini and BMW X3.

Even with the cautious approach, spending on vehicle development contributed to eroding profitability.

Board tensions

In the first quarter, BMW’s automotive division posted its first loss in a decade amid slumping car prices, fallout from trade tensions and legal provisions related to alleged collusion. In March, the company announced a 12 billion-euro ($13.5 billion) savings plan and said it would hold headcount steady this year.

As head of production, Zipse, a 28-year BMW veteran, has championed a manufacturing system that allows electric, hybrid and conventional cars to roll off the same line to boost flexibility amid uncertain demand. He was appointed to top management ranks in May 2015 to succeed Krueger as production chief. Prior to that, he ran product strategy and oversaw the company’s Mini factory in Oxford, England.

Unlike many of his counterparts on BMW’s management board, Zipse studied abroad, taking courses in computer science and mathematics at the University of Utah in the 1980s. He received a mechanical engineering degree from Technical University Darmstadt before joining BMW as a trainee in 1991.

One of Zipse’s key challenges will be uniting BMW’s fractious leadership on future partnerships. While the company pushed forward with a tie-up on car sharing and autonomous driving with rival Daimler AG in recent years, boardroom tension has prevented deeper cooperation on new models or electric cars.




Original post:

Per Automotive News:

Quote:
BMW CEO Krueger will not seek contract extension

July 5, 2019

FRANKFURT -- BMW CEO Harald Krueger will not make himself available for a contract extension after 2020, pre-empting deliberations about whether to give him another five-year term at the automaker.

"Harald Krueger today informed the Chairman of the Supervisory Board that he will not seek another term of office beyond his current term running until 30 April 2020," BMW said in a statement on Friday.

Krueger, 53, has led BMW since 2015, after becoming the youngest CEO of a major carmaker at the time.

The supervisory board will discuss his succession at a meeting on July 18, BMW said.

"For more than 27 years, BMW has been my professional home," Krueger said in the statement. "After four years as CEO, I want to seek new challenges and apply my extensive international experience in new tasks and projects."

In May, Bloomberg reported that some supervisory board members were questioning whether Krueger was the right choice to lead the company.

Handelsblatt reported last month that there are two internal front-runners for Krueger's job. One is Klaus Froehlich, 59, head of development, and the other is Oliver Zipse, 55, head of production. Both currently sit on the automaker's management board.

After leading the luxury competition for a decade, BMW’s momentum petered out under Krueger’s tenure. It lost the global lead to Mercedes-Benz in 2016 and has since struggled to regain the top spot with cautious model redesigns. Since last year, weaker global markets and trade tensions have shrunk profits.

Avoiding crowds

Krueger, a former production chief, was hastily installed as CEO designate in December 2014 and formally took office in May 2015 following the defection of Herbert Diess to rival Volkswagen Group.

Krueger avoided high-profile appearances in front of large crowds since he collapsed on stage during his first major news conference as CEO during the Frankfurt car show in September 2015.

The company sent Chief Financial Officer Nicolas Peter to high-profile meetings including a visit to the White House last year.

In 2018 when French president Emmanuel Macron invited carmakers to an auto industry summit on the eve of the Paris motor show, Peter, who speaks fluent French, was also chosen to be BMW's representative.

At BMW's annual results news conference earlier this year, the company sidestepped questions about whether Krueger would receive a contract extension. BMW spokesman Maximilian Schoeberl at the time said succession was "not a topic" being discussed.

Quote:
BMW production chief Zipse to succeed Krueger, report says

July 5, 2019

FRANKFURT -- BMW's production chief, Oliver Zipse, will be picked to succeed Harald Krueger as CEO, the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper reported, citing people within the company as its source.

BMW said on Friday that Krueger will not seek another term of office beyond his current contract running until April 30, 2020, pre-empting deliberations about whether he would get another 5-year extension at the automaker.

BMW declined to comment on "speculation" about potential CEO candidates and said the matter would be discussed at a supervisory board meeting on July 18.

German business paper Handelsblatt reported last month that there were two internal front-runners for Krueger's job. The paper named Zipse, 55, but also said Klaus Froehlich, head of development, was a candidate.

Froehlich, 59, may be too old for the top job because BMW normally imposes a 60-year age limit on its upper management. Both executives currently sit on the automaker's management board. Froehlich will continue in his current post, the Frankfurter Allgemeine said on Friday.

Reuters and Bloomberg both reported on Friday that Zipse is the frontrunner to become CEO, citing company sources.

Investment analysts Evercore ISI said BMW has "potentially the strongest bench of talent and the most balanced hierarchy" to deal with a change of leadership.

"We believe it shows a lot of character and respect for his team and the company that Harald Krueger is taking this decision ahead of a supervisory board meeting," Evercore said in a note to investors.

Krueger, 53, has led BMW since 2015, after becoming the youngest CEO of a major automaker at the time.

BMW Chairman Norbert Reithofer said in a statement that the company has "complete respect and understanding" for Krueger's decision to step down. Krueger "has demonstrated unwavering dedication to the BMW Group in all of the various positions he has held," said Reithofer, who was Krueger’s predecessor as CEO.

In May, Bloomberg reported that some supervisory board members were questioning whether Krueger was the right choice to lead the company.

After leading the luxury competition for a decade, BMW’s momentum petered out under Krueger’s tenure. It lost the global lead to Mercedes-Benz in 2016 and has since struggled to regain the top spot with cautious model redesigns. Since last year, weaker global markets and trade tensions have shrunk profits.

Krueger, a former production chief, was hastily installed as CEO designate in December 2014 and formally took office in May 2015 following the defection of Herbert Diess to rival Volkswagen Group.

Krueger avoided high-profile appearances in front of large crowds since he collapsed on stage during his first major news conference as CEO during the Frankfurt show in September 2015.

The company sent Chief Financial Officer Nicolas Peter to high-profile meetings including a visit to the White House last year.

In 2018, when French President Emmanuel Macron invited automakers to an auto industry summit on the eve of the Paris auto show, Peter, who speaks fluent French, was also chosen to be BMW's representative.

At BMW's annual results news conference earlier this year, the company sidestepped questions about whether Krueger would receive a contract extension. BMW spokesman Maximilian Schoeberl at the time said succession was "not a topic" being discussed.

Bloomberg contributed to this report
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