Oliver Zipse will assume the role of BMW Group board chairman and CEO effective on 16 August 2019. The company’s Supervisory Board made the decision during a meeting at its Spartanburg plant in the US.
Zipse (age 55) – the current board member responsible for manufacturing – will succeed Harald Krueger, who recently decided he would step down as CEO rather than seek a new contract.
Zipse takes the top job at BMW as the company faces a number of headwinds, including slower sales in China and the high costs of investment in the electrification of its products. Krueger has presided over a dip in profitability for BMW that is said to have led to some board members wanting a change. Zipse’s knowledge and experience in manufacturing are seen as strong assets that made him the preferred choice for the top job.
“With Oliver Zipse, a decisive strategic and analytical leader will assume the Chair of the Board of Management of BMW AG. He will provide the BMW Group with fresh momentum in shaping the mobility of the future,” said Dr Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of BMW AG.
Zipse has been a member of the Board of Management of BMW AG since 2015 and is currently responsible for the production division. He began his professional career in the company in 1991 as a Trainee and has since held various management positions, including as Managing Director Plant Oxford (MINI) and Senior Vice President Corporate Planning and Product Strategy.
Reithofer added: “The Supervisory Board greatly respects the decision by Harald Krueger and today expressed our sincere appreciation for his many years of successful work within the BMW Group. On behalf of the entire company, we all wish him all the best in the future and hope that the BMW Group will always have a special meaning for him.”
The Supervisory Board of BMW is currently meeting at the plant location in Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA, to discuss current business developments in the US market as well as production at the biggest plant in the global production network of the BMW Group. Reithofer said: “With its innovative strength, strong brands and dedicated employees, the BMW Group will build on its leadership role in the premium segment going forward and continue on its path to long-term success.”
Manfred Schoch, Chairman of the Global Works Council and deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board said: “The strong partnership between the Workers’ Council and corporate management has a long tradition and is the foundation of our success story. We look forward to continuing this cooperation and shaping the future of the company together.”
Oliver Zipse’s CV:
- 1964 February, born in Heidelberg, Germany
- 1983 High School Graduation in Bensheim, Germany
- 1983 – 1985 University of Utah, Salt Lake City/USA: Studies in Computer Science and Mathematics
- 1985 – 1991 Technical University Darmstadt: Graduation in Mechanical Engineering (Dipl.-Ing.)
- 1997 – 1999 WHU Koblenz and Kellogg School of Management, Evanston/USA: Executive MBA
- 1991 Joined BMW AG as Trainee in Development and Production
- 1992 – 1994 Project Engineer for Technology Innovation
- 1994 – 2006 Various Leading Functions in Development, Production and Production Planning in Munich and South Africa
- 2007 – 2008 Managing Director Plant Oxford, UK
- 2009 – 2012 Senior Vice President Technical Planning
- 2012 – 2015 Senior Vice President Corporate Planning and Product Strategy
- 2015 Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Production
- 2019 Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG