BMW will promote its current product chief Harald Krüger to the role of CEO. The 49-year-old executive will take the reins at the automaker on May 13, 2015, replacing current CEO Norbert Reithofer who is set to become chairman, subject to the election of the board of directors.
BMW has an unofficial age limit of 60 for its senior executives, and with Reithofer currently 58 the automaker has decided it’s best to announce his successor early to avoid speculation and provide clarity.
"The automotive industry is undergoing a fundamental shift. Those who want to play an active role in shaping tomorrow’s mobility need constantly to find viable solutions to future challenges. The BMW Group plans to maintain its leading role in the premium segment. To achieve this, we have to hand over responsibility to the next generation at an appropriate time,” current BMW chairman Joachim Milberg said in a statement.
Milberg will stay on at BMW after Reithofer is named chairman. He is expected to take a leading role in the automaker’s charitable work.
Krüger joined BMW in 1992 straight out of university where he completed a degree in mechanical engineering. He has been a senior executive at the automaker since 2008, initially in the human resources department. He’s also worked in aftersales for all BMW Group brands and most recently was put in charge of product development.
Krüger only took over the product chief role after the sudden departure of Herbert Diess earlier this year. It has also been confirmed today that Diess is now working at the Volkswagen Group where he has been put in charge of the VW brand. And with Krüger moving to the CEO role at BMW, Klaus Fröhlich, currently in charge of BMW’s small and midsize vehicle lines, will become the new product chief.