We previewed this news a few days back and now BMW has made it official. Ludwig Willisch, former M Boss (yes the one that reportedly approved the X5 M and X6 M) and former European sales director will take over for O ‘Donnell October 1st.
Official Release: Ludwig Willisch (55), currently responsible for the BMW Group’s European sales region, will take over from Jim O’Donnell (61) as president of BMW of North America, effective October 1st, 2011. Willisch, who holds a degree in economics, began his career with the BMW Group in 1996 as manager of the BMW branch in Düsseldorf. He gained further national and international sales experience as head of the local sales subsidiaries in Germany, Japan and Sweden. Prior to assuming his current position as head of European sales, Willisch was president of BMW M GmbH.
O’Donnell, who has managed the BMW Group’s North American sales since 2008, will be retiring. The BMW Group achieved a substantial increase in sales on the U.S. market in the first half of the year. A total of 143,974 vehicles (+18.1% year-on-year) were sold in the U.S. through June, making the region the BMW Group’s second-largest market in the first half of 2011. Last year, the company delivered 266,580 automobiles to U.S. customers – an increase of 10.1%.
Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management, responsible for Sales and Marketing at BMW AG: “I would like to thank Jim O’Donnell for his tireless commitment during his successful career. I would also like to wish Ludwig Willisch every success. With his many years of solid experience in the automobile business, I am confident that he will maintain our successful course in the U.S. in the future.”
A successor to Willisch for the BMW Group’s European sales region will be announced at a later date.