Incoming BMW North America head has long track record

O'Donnell: 17-year BMW veteran
BMW's new chief for the Americas is a Scot who studied law and accounting and has a long resume of automotive jobs.

Jim O'Donnell, 58, becomes chairman and CEO of BMW (US) Holding Corp., with responsibility for North, Central and South America, on July 1, taking over for Tom Purves. Purves will become CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. in Goodwood, England, another BMW property. Purves' move puts off BMW's mandatory retirement he would have faced when he turns 60 in November. O'Donnell will face the same mandatory age.

O'Donnell is being promoted from president of BMW of North America, a post he assumed April 1.

He has been with the BMW group for 17 years. Before coming to the United States, O'Donnell was managing director of BMW (UK) Ltd. He also has been sales and marketing director of BMW South Africa and sales director of the U.K. subsidiary.

O'Donnell worked for Ford Motor Co. Ltd. in the United Kingdom for 10 years until 1989. His last position was manager of the U.S. import program. He also was manager of dealer systems and a regional sales manager.

This month O'Donnell also took over Howard Mosher's role as BMW's vice president of operations in North America.

Mosher retired March 31 at age 61. BMW hasn't said whether it will fill that job when O'Donnell moves up. 

You can reach Diana T. Kurylko at dkurylko@autonews.com

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