Veteran BMW executive Ludwig Willisch, who has led the company's sales operations in Europe and Japan, will take over as CEO of BMW of North America on Oct. 1.
The 55-year-old German will replace Jim O'Donnell, 61, who will retire.
O'Donnell, a native of Scotland, has held the job since July 2008. Willisch will arrive in the United States on Sept. 1 and work alongside O'Donnell during a one-month transition.
Since May 2009, Willisch has been head of BMW Group's European sales outside of Germany. Before that he was president of BMW M GmbH, the brand's performance division in Munich.
He began his BMW career in 1996 as head of the sales office in Duesseldorf, Germany. He later ran the sales subsidiaries in Germany, Japan and Sweden.
O'Donnell, BMW's top executive in the United Kingdom from 2000 until being named to his current post, leaves with BMW in good shape in the United States.
Last month, BMW outsold Mercedes-Benz to extend its lead as the top-selling luxury brand this year. And BMW is on track to outsell Lexus in the United States for the first time since 1997.