Back in January, it was revealed that the head of Audi’s quattro performance division, Franciscus van Meel, was being reassigned to an R&D role in China. No reason was stated but it was rumored at the time that more senior Audi managers were displeased with van Meel’s progress on the second-generation R8 and its e-tron electric variant.

By May, it emerged van Meel, 48, was likely to leave Audi and join forces with rival firm BMW.

Now, the Munich-based automaker has confirmed that van Meel will take over the reins at BMW M when current boss Friedrich Nitschke retires at the end of the year. Nitschke, 59, has worked for BMW for the past 36 years and has run BMW M since 2011. He was influential in the development of the BMW M Performance brand as well as the latest M3 and M4 models.

It’s not clear what van Meel’s first task at BMW M will be. At Audi, he held various management positions in chassis development and the technical steering of vehicle projects. He was in charge of the quattro division for just two years before being reassigned.

If the M division were ever to start work on its on again/off again flagship sports car, having the man that previously oversaw R8 development onboard would certainly prove helpful. With Mercedes-AMG’s new GT sports car heading to showrooms soon, and the second-generation Audi R8 just around the corner, the lack of a dedicated sports car from BMW M is now more obvious than ever.


Follow Motor Authority on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.