A crown prince emerges on BMW's board
Reithofer: CEO must retire in ’16
BMW's latest management board shuffle hints at who will succeed CEO Norbert Reithofer in four years. So who are the winners and losers in the changes that take effect April 1?
At first glance it doesn't look good for sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson, who will lose oversight of the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands. The Englishman will be responsible for sales and marketing for the BMW brand and its M and i subbrands.
That seems to be a demotion, but Robertson, 53, will retain a key role because of the importance of the core BMW brand.
The board's youngest member, human resources boss Harald Krueger, 46, will take on tasks previously overseen by Robertson. He will manage a new division with responsibility for Mini and Rolls-Royce. He also will be in charge of BMW's motorcycles division, which has been run by r&d boss Klaus Draeger, 55. Krueger also will oversee expanding BMW's aftersales business.
Krueger is seen internally as the most likely successor to Reithofer and he will have more operational responsibility. He will gain valuable experience but must prove his abilities.
"Krueger has been entrusted with a difficult and highly complex job with three completely different groups of customers," says IHS Automotive analyst Christoph Stuermer. "Things could go very wrong very quickly for him if he's not careful."
Milagros Caina-Andree, 49, will replace Krueger as head of personnel when she joins the automaker in July from Deutsche Bahn's Schenker logistics unit. Caina-Andree's appointment is doubly significant. It's rare that BMW recruits a top-tier executive from outside the company and she will be the carmaker's first female management board member. Caina-Andree, who was born in Spain, also will be the board's second non-German, after Robertson.
Krueger's main rival for Reithofer's job is purchasing boss Herbert Diess, 53, who will switch roles with r&d board member Draeger. Diess will assume responsibility for r&d while Draeger will head purchasing.
Diess is well-regarded for his success in cutting purchasing costs and the Quandt family, BMW's majority stakeholders, love competition among their top executives.
Krueger or Diess could succeed Reithofer in 2016 when Reithofer turns 60 and must retire, according to long-established BMW policy.
BMW is stronger than ever and this year expects to surpass last year's record sales of 1.67 million cars, so the company has not done the reshuffle because it is weak and in need of a shake-up.
The changes follow the carmaker's tradition of regularly swapping the roles of board members. The shuffle keeps the top team and adds a woman to the mix.