The designer behind the forward-looking 2007 Concept CS and the current BMW 7-Series, Karim Habib, is returning to BMW after leaving last year to work at Mercedes-Benz. He replaces the previous head of exterior design at BMW, Anders Warming.

Habib's first tenure at BMW saw him working closely with then-head of design Chris Bangle. Habib definitely has his own sense of design, however, and his return to BMW likely presages a further evolution of the brand's style.

BMW's official release refers to his time at Mercedes-Benz as "two intervening career years." Regardless of the intra-German competition, Habib appears to be excited to return to BMW.

"I’m really delighted about coming back to the BMW brand and being given the opportunity to help shape the future of BMW as part of an outstanding team," said Habib in the release. BMW Group design director Adrian van Hooydonk also put his stamp of approval on Habib's return, saying, "Karim Habib is an excellent designer who has already made a major contribution to the BMW design with the current BMW 7 Series. I look forward to resuming our collaboration."

As for what Habib's first project on his return to BMW may be, the rumored 3-Series Gran Turismo is due for arrival soon, and the front-wheel-drive MINI-based BMW is still on the drawing board as well. The rest of the range is largely fresh or mid-cycle. With concepts for the 6-Series Coupe and new Vision EfficientDynamics-inspired hybrid concept already penned, there's not likely much interpretation left to be done in those areas. We'll just have to wait and see--perhaps the 2011 Geneva Motor Show will yield some new fruit.