Ex-Audi sales boss to head Mini, Rolls
Schwarzenbauer led Audi’s global expansion.
MUNICH -- BMW Group has named former Audi sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer as its board member in charge of Mini, Rolls-Royce, BMW motorcycles and group aftersales.
Schwarzenbauer, 53, ran Audi's sales and marketing for more than four years. He succeeds Harald Krueger, 47, who will take over as BMW's head of production from Frank-Peter Arndt, 57, who is leaving the automaker because of health reasons, BMW said in a statement. The changes take effect April 1.
Schwarzenbauer led Audi's global expansion by increasing the brand's presence in the United States, boosting sales in China and gaining market share across Europe while maintaining profitability.
He left Audi in August as part of a broader management reshuffling by parent Volkswagen Group. Luca de Meo, a former chief marketing officer with Fiat, succeeded Schwarzenbauer at Audi.
Krueger, the BMW board's youngest member, was promoted from human resources boss to his current job last April. The automaker created the position by giving Krueger tasks previously overseen by BMW sales boss Ian Robertson.
Krueger is seen internally as a strong candidate to succeed BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer, who was head of the automaker's global production for six years before being named chief executive in September 2006.
Reithofer, who turns 57 in May, is under contract until 2016, when he will turn 60, BMW's mandatory retirement age for its management board members.
Arndt said in a statement that he is leaving BMW "out of consideration for my health and my family, and out of responsibility towards the BMW Group."
At Audi, Schwarzenbauer helped the brand expand sales. In his first year as sales chief in 2008, Audi topped 1 million car sales. The brand's deliveries rose to a record 1.5 million cars in 2012.
Schwarzenbauer left Audi in the wake of the management revamp. The reshuffle last year also triggered the departure of VW's former China chief Karl-Thomas Neumann, who became CEO at General Motors' Opel unit this month, and Audi's former r&d boss Michael Dick.
Schwarzenbauer joined BMW in 1984 and held several posts in the marketing and sales department. He left to join Porsche in 1994 and became CEO of the company's North American division in 2003. Five years later, he took over the management board position responsible for sales and marketing at Audi.
Bloomberg contributed to this report
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