BMW’s CEO, Harald Kruger, announces he will not seek a second term when the German automaker’s supervisory board meets July 18.
The move, not unexpected following a series of ongoing health problems that have plagued Kruger since his appointment to the position in 2015, throws BMW into a period of uncertainty at a crucial stage of falling sales, reduced profitability and pressure to increase investment in the development of electric vehicles.
The 53-year-old Kruger’s current contract expires in April 2020. BMW confirms it plans to use next week’s supervisory board meeting to discuss a possible successor.
Kruger was named CEO in 2015 with strong support from the Munich-based BMW’s majority shareholder, the Quandt family.
Since then, BMW has lost its long-held position as the No.1 premium automotive brand by global sales to Mercedes-Benz. In addition, Kruger has been criticized internally for failing to increase investment in the company’s BMW i electric vehicle sub-brand following the launch of the i3 and i8 models.
In recent weeks BMW has attempted to boost its position by announcing it has fast-tracked its electrification plans, moving forward the introduction of 25 battery-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric models from an original date of 2025 to the end of 2023.
In his announcement, Kruger says: “The BMW Group has been my professional home for more than 27 years. After more than 10 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 endeavors.”
Norbert Reithofer, previous CEO and chairman of the BMW supervisory board, says: “Over the last quarter-century, Harald Kruger has demonstrated unwavering dedication to the BMW Group in all of the various positions he has held.”
Among the favorites to succeed Kruger are Oliver Zipse, board member responsible for production, and Klaus Frohlich, board member responsible for R&D.