BMW CEO Harald Krueger will be stepping down before the end of his term next spring. The news has spread like wildfire since first being rumored earlier this week. Now we know when and why Krueger is leaving.
According to numerous reports (there latest by Autonews), it was BMW’s slow transition to electric that has hastened his exit. When BMW exited F1 and poured billions into electrification a decade ago, it would have seemed that the brand was well prepped for the seismic shift. However some bad moved (seemingly not Krueger’s fault) meant that BMW didn’t capitalize on the lead they had. Here’s a quick excerpt from the latest Autonews report:
But soon after Krueger took over, sales of the i3 hit a wall, calling into question the electric push. The plan to use carbon fiber turned out to be too costly. The strong-willed Reithofer never really exited the stage. The diesel crisis that shook rival Volkswagen sullied the reputation of the entire German car industry, and more recently the U.S.-China trade spat has hit profits.
“The path BMW set out for Krueger wasn’t easy,” said Frank Biller, an analyst at Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg in Stuttgart. “BMW has traditionally picked executives with less emotional flair and more of a technical, engineering background. Car electrification is a very emotional topic.”
As Krueger puzzled over how to reinvent BMW for the electric age, it was almost a year before he presented his strategic vision — which was a bust. He delayed BMW’s next major electric car, effectively squandering its leadership in the field. Key engineers quit to set up an electric-vehicle startup. And to help pay for the shift, Krueger doubled down on gas-guzzling, super-charged luxury cars such as the 8-series sports car and full-size X7 crossover.
At Krueger’s first major public appearance, at the Frankfurt car show in September 2015, the CEO collapsed on stage minutes into a presentation. He blamed the episode on dehydration and too many hours flying, but it was an apt metaphor for his leadership, and the event haunted him with obvious discomfort speaking publicly in the months that followed.
Next up is rumored to be Oliver Zipse who has recently served as a global head of production.
Official Release: The Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Harald Krüger, gave notice today that he will not seek a second term of office. The Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Dr Norbert Reithofer, has complete respect and understanding for his decision. The Supervisory Board will address the matter of a successor during its next meeting on 18 July 2019. Until a decision has been made, Harald Krüger will hold his position as Chairman of the Board of Management.
“The BMW Group has been my professional home for more than 27 years. After more than ten years in the Board of Management, more than four of which as the CEO of the BMW Group, I would like to pursue new professional endeavours and leverage my diverse international experience for new projects and ventures,” said Krüger. “Over the last years, the automotive industry has been shaped by enormous changes, which have brought about more transformation than in the previous 30 years. This has demanded tremendous efforts from every employee within the company. For their outstanding commitment, I would like to personally thank each and every one of them. It has always been a true honour for me to work with this tremendous team and to set the BMW Group on a path towards a successful future during the most significant transformation of this industry.”
“Over the last quarter century, Harald Krüger has demonstrated unwavering dedication to the BMW Group in all of the various positions he has held. I would like to express my sincere gratitude for his great personal commitment. I have complete respect and understanding for his decision and for his further plans,” said Dr Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of BMW AG.
Harald Krüger assumed the position of Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG from Dr Norbert Reithofer on 13 May 2015. Under his leadership, the company put forward Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT, which enabled the BMW Group to actively shape the transformation of the industry and the transition towards sustainable mobility of the future. With the largest model roll-out in the company’s history, vehicle deliveries reached new all-time highs, while at the same time the company systematically expanded its electromobility strategy. By 2023, the BMW Group will have 25 electrified models on the roads.
As Chairman, Krüger further strengthened the significance of strategic partnerships – particularly in the area of breakthrough technologies such as highly automated driving. Additionally, the BMW Group has successfully merged its mobility services under the entity YOUR NOW. Moreover, the BMW Group significantly increased its role as a global player and, as the first international company, will be able to increase its share in its Chinese Joint Venture, BMW Brilliance Automotive, to 75%.
“The BMW Group is a unique company with a long tradition, a great pioneering spirit and a passion for innovation. Over the past few years, we have set the strategic course to steer the BMW Group successfully into the future. The associates around the world are the greatest strength of the BMW Group. Together, they are on the path to the mobility of tomorrow and I am certain that they will successfully shape the future of our industry and beyond,” said Krüger.