One of the most recognized automobile designers in the world, Chris Bangle, has announced today that he plans to quit the auto industry to pursue his own design-related endeavours. Bangle is the controversial designer behind recent BMW design traits such as ‘flame surfacing’ and the notorious ‘Bangle Butt’ boot lid, and his creative works have divided numerous BMW enthusiasts over the years who either love or hate them.

Bangle leaves the post of BMW Group's Head of Design and will be replaced by Adrian van Hooydonk, who is currently Head of BMW Automobile Design. Both designers have worked closely together for the past 17 years and have mapped out a clear and aesthetic route for the future of the German luxury carmaker.

Chris Bangle will be replaced by Adrian van Hooydonk as BMW Group's Head of Design

Chris Bangle will be replaced by Adrian van Hooydonk as BMW Group's Head of Design

"Christopher Bangle has had a lasting impact on the identity of BMW Group’s brands. His contribution to the company’s success has been decisive," said BMW development chief Klaus Draeger.

After studying at the University of Wisconsin and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, he began his working life in Rüsselsheim, where he worked for Opel. In 1985 he joined Fiat, where he became director of the Fiat Centro Stile in 1992 and designed the legendary Fiat Coupe. Shortly afterwards he left the Italian automaker to come to Munich.

Bangle became the first American BMW Head of Design in 1992, where he penned the Z9 Gran Turismo concept car. Despite the controversy and heated opinions behind many of his designs, his styling themes have gone on to inspire numerous designs at rival car companies and have had a significant affect on the global auto industry.