BMW of North America CEO Bernhard Kuhnt, 53, is leaving the U.S. to run the automaker's German business.
Sebastian Mackensen, 49, a former Volkswagen Group executive with U.S. market experience, will take over in North America effective Sept. 1, BMW said Friday.
In his new position, Mackensen will manage all sales, marketing and distribution activities for BMW Group from Canada to Argentina, in addition to serving as president and CEO of BMW of North America.
Mackensen is a senior vice president and head of BMW's German market. Previously, he ran BMW's Mini unit.
Mackensen has extensive experience in North America, including as Audi's sales chief for the Americas for five years.
Before that, he held management roles in customer relations and business development at Porsche Cars North America.
In his new role, Mackensen must steer BMW through the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and this year's microchip supply shortage. Meanwhile, BMW is gearing up to take its battle with Mercedes-Benz to a new front in the U.S. — electric vehicles. Early next year, BMW will introduce two electric models — the i4 four-door fastback and the iX midsize crossover.
BMW expects electrified vehicles, including plug-in hybrids, to account for about a fourth of its U.S. sales in the next five years, Kuhnt told Automotive News this year.
"We believe customers are going in this direction," Kuhnt said. "There's a higher interest in electrified vehicles than there has been before."