There is a lot here to take in but the most notable (and unfortunate) change is Matt Russell leaving the BMW brand. Matt has been with BMW for 15 years in various positions but has always been close to the soul of the brand. From the time he was BMW M Product manager in the U.S. to his recent stints in corporate communications, Matt has been a direct conduit from the enthusiast to BMW corporate. Needless to say he will be greatly missed.

Official Release: Alexander Bilgeri, Vice President, BMW Group Corporate Communications is pleased to announce that Mariella Kapsaskis will assume the role of MINI Communications Manager effective May 1, 2015.

With ten years in the communications industry, Mariella’s experience spans a variety of sectors from technology to fashion, luxury and automotive. Most recently at Mercedes-Benz, Mariella was part of the Corporate Communications team responsible for maintaining a positive image of the brand, products, and company in the U.S. market. Prior to Mercedes-Benz, Mariella was with Lands’ End as the Public Relations Manager of the New York showroom. She has also been on the agency side including working with Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, where she led communications support for clients such as Amazon, Microsoft and Toshiba. In addition to her PR background, Mariella holds an M.S. in broadcast journalism and has spent time at the Cox Broadcasting Bureau in Washington, D.C., and WNBC-TV in New York.

In her new role Mariella will be media spokesperson for MINI and will work closely with the entire MINI team to develop the strategy and execution to inform, excite and interpret the MINI brand to key stakeholders.

Mariella succeeds Nathalie Bauters who has accepted a new position as head of BMW Group Corporate Communications at BMW Group Netherlands, headquartered in The Hague. Nathalie has already begun her new role in The Netherlands.

Tom Plucinsky, Department Manager, BMW Corporate Communications, announces that Matt Russell has left the company after 15 years of service. The company wishes Matt well in his new endeavors.

Tom is also welcoming Rebecca Kiehne and Hector Arellano-Belloc into the department as BMW Product & Technology Spokespersons, effective April, 2015.

Rebecca Kiehne has more than 5 years experience working for BMW Group in a wide range of roles across the company. She joined BMW of North America in 2011 as a Management Associate after graduating from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Management Associates are expected to develop a unique breadth of knowledge across the BMW Group and Rebecca’s experience includes assignments in Sales, Marketing and Product Planning with BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Since 2013, she has been part of the Retail Support Center specializing in the retail business at the company’s owned and operated center, BMW of Manhattan. She was born in Munich, Germany and started her career as an intern for BMW M GmbH. She is fluent in German and English.

Hector Arellano-Belloc brings more than 20 years of auto industry experience including a product and technology background in Sales and Aftersales. He was most recently at BMW Group University at the Woodcliff Lake, NJ headquarters of BMW of North America. Born in Mexico City, Mexico, Hector studied International Relations and holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Santa Fe, Mexico. He joined BMW Group Mexico in 2006 as Senior Technical Instructor providing technical training in Spanish and English. During this time he also served as Editor-at-Large for CAR Magazine Mexico, writing monthly technical and vehicle evaluation articles. Hector joined BMW of North America in 2010 as Senior Technical Course Developer at BMW Group University where he led the redevelopment of the company’s technical training core curriculum. He is a certified specialist in BMW ActiveHybrid and BMW i technology. His native languages are Spanish and English.