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BMW Poised to Name Production Chief Oliver Zipse as New CEO

July 18, 2019
Choosing Zipse would follow in BMW’s tradition of picking leaders from the production unit.

BMW AG is poised to name production head Oliver Zipse as its next chief executive officer in a leadership reset to catch up with the industry’s move to self-driving and electric cars, according to people familiar with the matter.

The final decision for Zipse to replace Harald Krueger is still contingent on a vote by the supervisory board, said the people, who asked not to be named as the discussions are private.

BMW’s board is meeting on Thursday in Spartanburg, South Carolina to choose Krueger’s successor and an announcement on the results of a vote is expected to come later in the day, they said. Zipse has been the most likely candidate.

A spokesman for BMW declined to comment, saying the company doesn’t discuss supervisory board deliberations.

Choosing Zipse would follow in BMW’s tradition of picking leaders from the production unit. The head of BMW’s supervisory board, Norbert Reithofer, who once served as CEO, was also production chief before ascending to the top job. Krueger was also head of production.

Apart from Zipse, development head Klaus Froehlich was seen as another potential candidate. Froehlich will stay on despite being passed over for the CEO role, the people said.

Krueger announced in the beginning of July that he would step down, a year before his contract was due to end. The supervisory board was getting ready to decide whether to grant him a second term.

By Oliver Sachgau and Elisabeth Behrmann

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